Determinism is the belief that everything that occurs in the universe is 100% caused by everything that occurred before it since the beginning of time. They argue that anything else would violate laws of cause and effect. Many famous philosophers from the very beginning of philosophy have been some form of determinist, though a common project throughout the history of philosophy has also been to reconcile free will with determinism.
Opponents to determinists are indeterminists. These are often called 'libertarians' (not in the political sense). Indeterminists self-identify under a number of religions and philosophies. One influential argument against determinism was/is Cartesian dualism, which is the idea that the human psyche is so unique it can operate as a unique cause. Historically, indeterminists were identified with religions, especially Christianity, as seen by Thomas Aquinas's famous defense of free will. However, radical forms of indeterminism are rarely defended by modern philosophers. Some other forms of indeterminism exist, including via recourse to Humean approaches to universal laws.
Soft determinists attempt to reconcile determinism with free-will. These people are called 'compatibilists'. Criticisms of the concept include the claim that the compatibilist's conception of 'free will' is often so close to hard determinism as to be the same thing in all practical sense. These critics argue the ability to determine outcomes is more important than the ability to choose, but not affect outcomes.
Hard determinists do not believe in free will, and consider the concept illogical. Hard Determinism is therefore at odds with political and social movements that place a strong emphasis on personal responsibility, including neoliberalism and associated movements. On the other hands, adherents of these movements often criticize determinism, largely in view of its potential social ramifications, such as lack of agency and responsibility, and claim it inevitably leads to fatalism, and so on.
Psychologically, the stance one takes on determinism is linked to locus of control, the perception of whether one's life outcomes are within one's power to alter or not.
Among incels, the blackpill is often argued to represent a form of biological determinism in regards to dating.
Hard determinism - not a fringe theory[edit | edit source]
Some argue that hard determinism logically and inevitably stems from natural laws, at least Western science's interpretation of natural laws. This is linked to materialism, which is the dominant philosophical point of view in modern society. Blackpilled incels tend to be hard determinist. Some famous academic hard determinists include:
- Galen Strawson
- Patricia Churchland, analytic philosopher who wrote, The Computational Mind.
- Francis Crick, who solved DNA structure, and also wrote The Astonishing Hypothesis which argued against free will in a hard determinist context.
Determinism vs. fatalism[edit | edit source]
Determinism does not make a claim on what should be done. In one sense Determinism is descriptive whereas fatalism is prescriptive, if one views fatalism as a psychological attitude. Fatalism is the idea that all events are predetermined by events and therefore they must happen. In another sense, there is a logical connection between determinism and fatalism, which relates to declarative statements. These are generally very abstruse arguments that people not interested in philosophy find overly obscurantist. For example, if one says that a person shaved this morning, and he did, this can leave open the possibility of violation of the principle of non-contradiction. If the person in this example had the ability not to shave (indeterminism), because this could render him the ability to make a true statement false. Aristotle provided one famous counter to this type of argument.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]