- the doctrine that all facts and events exemplify natural laws.
- the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, have sufficient causes.
- Also called: necessitarianism the philosophical doctrine that all events including human actions and choices are fully determined by preceding events and states of affairs, and so that freedom of choice is illusoryCompare free will (def. 1b)
- the scientific doctrine that all occurrences in nature take place in accordance with natural laws
- the principle in classical mechanics that the values of dynamic variables of a system and of the forces acting on the system at a given time, completely determine the values of the variables at any later time
n.1846, in theology (lack of free will); 1876 in general sense of “doctrine that everything happens by a necessary causation,” from French déterminisme, from German Determinismus, perhaps a back-formation from Praedeterminismus (see determine). n.
- The philosophical doctrine that every event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedents, such as genetic and environmental influences, that are independent of the human will.
In ethics, the view that human actions are entirely controlled by previous conditions, operating under laws of nature. Determinism is often understood as ruling out free will.