Types of determinism Philosophical Determinism

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Types of determinism

  • Philosophical Determinism is:

    • The concept that every event that takes place is the result of a causal chain of occurrences.

    • Event here means any human action, behaviour, cognition, decision, etc.

  • Theological Determinism is:

    • The belief that the causal chain can be traced back to an uncaused causer – i.e. God.

    • If God is omniscient and omnipotent then all our actions are predetermined by God.

  • Psychological Determinism is:

    • the theory that the purposes, needs, and desires of individuals are central to an explanation of human behaviour (the nature-nurture debate).

  • Scientific Determinism is:

    • The belief that the causal chain can be traced back to the Big Bang.

    • The mechanistic nature of the universe, and therefore human beings, means that everything you do is predetermined.


“In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to will this or that by a cause, which has been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.”


“Pear trees cannot bear bananas. The instincts of a spaniel cannot be the instincts of an ostrich. Everything is planned everything is determined.”

R. William Hasker

“From psychology we learn about reinforcement and conditioning, and about childhood experiences which have made us what we are. From biology we learn of genetic determinants of behaviour and of biochemical balances in the brain which determine everything from fleeting moods and emotions to our very sanity. From physics we learn to see ourselves, our society, our entire planet, as a tiny part of an inconceivably vast universe which is ruled throughout by immutable physical laws. Nowhere in this picture is there room for an individual human being who determines what shall take place in their own life without regard to the necessary relationships of cause and effect in the universe as a whole.

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