• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Determinism

Determinism, broadly stated, is any version of several theories that assert that some prior state of affairs governed and determined the current state of affairs. Philosophical conversations about determinism can be traced back through history as the question of whether human existence is planned or random and have perennially captured the imagination of thoughtful people. The conversation is important because the notion of ethical agency that allows for blame for moral failings depends on the existence of free will, which could be invalidated by theories of determinism.

Theories of Determinism

Philosophers and theologians have put forth several versions of determinism. The core difference between them is who or what knows and informs the chains of causation.

Fatalism

The earliest version of determinism is some form of fatalism, a sense ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles