Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision, is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A term invented, by Sir William Hamilton to denote the doctrine of the necessitarian philosophers, who hold that man's actions are uniformly determined by motives acting upon his character, and that he has not the power to choose to act in one way so long as he prefers on the whole to act in another way.
  • noun In general, the doctrine that whatever is or happens is entirely determined by antecedent causes; the doctrine that the science of phenomena consists in connecting them with the antecedent conditions of their existence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Metaph.) The doctrine that the will is not free, but is inevitably and invincibly determined by motives, preceding events, and natural laws.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun ethics The doctrine that all actions are determined by the current state and immutable laws of the universe, with no possibility of choice.
  • noun computing The property of having behavior determined only by initial state and input.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (philosophy) a philosophical theory holding that all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes; often understood as denying the possibility of free will

Etymologies

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