What is determinism?

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What is determinism?

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It’s a system property in which the starting state can be known and if reproduced the system will make the same state transitions every time – the same things will always happen. Many machines work this way. If you set your clock to 6:30 and check it in 30 minutes it will say 7:00; if it says 9:23 then it’s broken.

It depends on the context. In theology, determinism is the belief that God has decided before you are born whether you will ultimately go to Heaven. This is opposed to other denominations of Christianity that believe your actions while on Earth will decide that.

In non-religious philosophy, it refers to the idea that what we may perceive as free will, e.g. deciding to order soda instead of beer at dinner, is only an illusion of free will. If we are just made of atoms which follow completely predictable scientific principles, then given the exact same situation we would make the exact same “decision” every time. Others argue quantum physics allows for the existence of true free will.

It is the idea that every event is totally defined by the previous events, so it is inevitable. This view has implications in the existence of free will and also in interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Determinism is the logical consequence of accepting the premise: “There are no un-caused events.”

In other words, if every event has a cause, then determinism is true.