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The New International Encyclopædia/Determinism

DETERMINISM. The name given to the view that every event in time, psychic as well as physical, has a cause (see Causality), and that the cause being given, the event follows unvaryingly. It is opposed to indifferentism or indeterminism, which maintains that, at least in the phenomenon of the human will, the temporal antecedents do not definitively determine the event. These opposing doctrines have interest only in the sphere of ethics, as determinism is universally admitted to be true of all events except volition. The frankest of indeterminists, Prof. W. James, admits that his doctrine is an advocacy of chance, pure and simple. Others seek to avoid this confession, but with no success. The determination of will by motives could not be questioned were it not thought to carry with it a denial of moral responsibility. But so far is this from being the case that indeterminism on the contrary makes responsibility absurd. See Ethics; Chance; Free Will; Will; and consult the authorities referred to under Ethics; also James, The Will to Believe (Boston, 1897); Fouillée, La liberté et le déterminisme (2d ed., Paris, 1883).