Determinism, What is Determinism?

Determinism, What is Determinism?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

Determinism, also known as determinism, determinism, determinism in Turkish, is the name given to the doctrine that asserts that the universe or events in the universe or all objects and phenomena that fall within the field of a scientific discipline are predetermined, and that they occur under the influence of some laws or forces that make it necessary for them to be so. In short, it is the philosophical view that accepts that every event is the necessary result of some material or spiritual causes.

In other words, in the context of philosophy, it is the theory that argues that a chain of causes necessarily determines all events, including choices within the scope of morality. Accordingly, since the human will has no effect on the chain of necessary causes, these causes have direct power and direction in the occurrence of events. Thus, the principle of causality is accepted as the basic principle in determinism.

For determinism, all objects and facts are predetermined.

According to determinism, people are not free when they act morally. Because while performing moral actions, a person performs that action as a necessary result of some factors (psychological, social, moral, legal, etc.). In this case, there is no personal choice. Man cannot use his own free will in his actions. Therefore, it is not possible to talk about a moral responsibility.

Methodical Determinism

According to the determinist understanding, the universe has a completely rational structure; Having complete knowledge of a particular situation also enables infallible knowledge of its future. This reveals that the bad consequences of a certain behavior are foreseeable and that this imposes moral responsibility on people and creates an external obstacle that can affect human actions.

In this sense, Claude Bernard identifies science with a determinist understanding and summarizes the subject as follows: “We should not adopt this as an empirical evidence: The conditions of existence of every phenomenon have been determined absolutely in living beings, as in crude bodies. In other words, the conditions of a phenomenon have been known and fulfilled once. This phenomenon can always and necessarily occur according to the will of the experimenter. Thus, Bernard accepts the understanding of moral responsibility, arguing that the results can be predicted according to the developmental stage of the events and behavior can be developed accordingly.

Dogmatic Determinism

The “dogmatic determinism” of Spinoza, which is accepted as the most definitive expression of determinism, reaches a pantheistic understanding by defining God as infinite, single, perfect, necessary, simple, motionless, immortal and independent, and argues that there is a definite determinist order in the whole universe.

According to him, our thoughts, actions, and social behaviors adapt to a general order, an order with certain measures, and in this respect, there is no such thing as freedom in the universe we live in. This removes the sense of responsibility. Since man is not free, he is not responsible for his actions.

It should be accepted that just as there is a close relationship between the parts of the rational and orderly structure that is accepted to exist in the universe, the same situation is in question for the human being, who is a part of the universe. In that case, all human actions, behaviors, thoughts, feelings and even intuitions are predetermined in accordance with the principle of causality. That is, human actions, thoughts, intuitions, etc. There is no freedom of will and free choice, as they are determined by the conditions that make them up.

It is necessary to distinguish this determinist understanding from methodical determinism, which is important in the development of sciences. Because in dogmatic or universal determinism, aside from the presence of factors that hinder the development of science, there is also a rejection of the will, the freedom of will and the choices made by man based on this freedom of will, and man is reduced to a static object.


It is possible to extend the roots of determinism to Thales. In fact, Thales takes water as the basic principle of the universe, Anaximandros “apeiron = unknown”, Anaximenes air, Heraclitus logos as the element that regulates all being. Again, the “four elements” of Empedocles (water, air, earth and fire), the atom of Democritus, the first moving principle of Aristotle, and the universal logos of the Stoics are considered as determinants.

In the New Age, the mechanistic understanding will be based on determinism. Because the precision of mechanical relations also explains the existence of order in the universe. On the other hand, Descartes accepts God as free in terms of his will, and also recognizes the freedom and choice of will to man, who has divine qualities. On the other hand, in Descartes philosophy, there is a complete determinism in the world of matter. But his dualism also reveals the determinism-freedom opposition in the matter-spirit opposition.

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