Determinism holds that every action and event is determined by prior causal factors. Embraced by thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), Ted Honderich, and Peter Van Inwagen, so-called hard determinism holds that every event is the result of an unbroken causal chain. Thus, complete knowledge of the state of the universe at any given moment, combined with a complete knowledge of the laws of nature, will yield perfectly accurate predictions regarding the future state of the universe.

Determinists often point to modern science for justification. Fields such as genetics and molecular and developmental biology attribute an ever-increasing number of human physical and behavioral characteristics to their genetic makeup, a makeup that is “determined” by each individual's unique DNA composition and predates consciousness. For determinists, free will ...

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