Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: de·ter·min·ism
Pronunciation: /dəˈtərməˌnizəm

Definition of determinism in English:


The doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will. Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.
Example sentences
  • Such a view reconciles free will not with determinism but with the highly plausible thesis of universal event causation.
  • Compatibilist philosophies seek to reconcile free will and determinism in a modern time.
  • So, would you like to go again on your attempt to explain why you think I was wrong to call you on this, or do you want to talk about free will and determinism?



noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • In speaking of Hume as a determinist, we must, however, bear in mind that this does not in his case carry any pledge of allegiance to a reign of necessity in nature.
  • What Epicurus said is that a determinist cannot criticize the doctrine of Free Will because he admits his own criticism is itself determined.
  • Other incompatibilists, hard determinists, have a less optimistic view, holding that determinism is true and that no persons have free will.


Pronunciation: /-ˌtərməˈnistik/
Example sentences
  • So we've got free will, randomness, and deterministic behaviour - all in one.
  • How, in your view, does mainstream Christianity deal with the deterministic side of the paradox?
  • If the world were governed by strictly deterministic laws, might it still look as though indeterminism reigns?


Pronunciation: /-ˌtərməˈnistik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Hobbes’ and Spinoza's views that everything happens deterministically or necessarily, he thought, destroys it.
  • Except where there are minds interfering with it, matter proceeds deterministically, in its own right.
  • The multiverse, the universe of all universes, develops strictly along determinist lines, always obeying the deterministically evolving Schrodinger equation.

Definition of determinism in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day Sprachgefühl
Pronunciation: ˈSHpräkɡəˌf(y)o͞ol
intuitive understanding of a language’s natural idiom…