indeterminism

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indeterminism

See DETERMINISM.

Indeterminism

 

the philosophical doctrine and methodological position that reject either the objectivity of causal relations (ontological indeterminism) or the cognitive value of causal explanations in science (methodological indeterminism).

In the history of philosophy, from ancient Greek philosophy (Socrates) to the present day, indeterminism and determinism have been advanced as opposing conceptions relating to the problem of human will and freedom of choice, the problem of man’s responsibility for his actions. Indeterminism treats the will as an autonomous force and contends that the principles of causality are not applicable in explaining human choice and behavior. Indeterminists accuse determinists of fatalism. Marxism bases itself on the view that “far from assuming fatalism, determinism in fact provides a basis for reasonable action” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 1, p. 440) and that determinism “in no way destroys man’s reason, or conscience, or appraisal … of his actions” (ibid., p. 159).

In contemporary bourgeois philosophy various forms of indeterminism have become quite widespread. Thus, the Baden school of neo-Kantianism limited the principle of determinism to the realm of the natural sciences and denied that it was applicable to “sciences of the spirit” (W. Windelband and H. Rickert). Neopositivism, pragmatism, and personalism tried to limit determinism to the realm of logic.

The problem of indeterminism versus determinism became particularly relevant with the growth of modern quantum physics. It was found that the principles of classical determinism were not suitable for describing the processes at work in the subatomic world. In this connection attempts were made to interpret the basic laws of quantum theory in an indeterminist or agnostic sense. In this effort, one of the historical forms of determinism, namely, mechanistic determinism, was equated with determinism in general. The difficulties involved in clarifying the problems of causality in modern physics resulted in the strengthening of tendencies toward indeterminism in modern bourgeois philosophy. Thus B. Russell, H. Reichenbach, and P. Frank contended that determinism in general had no scientific value and that the axiom of causality had no place even in classical physics: the assertion of causality could not be applied to the relation between observable facts, since the results of measurement were of the nature of the probability distribution. Such ideas as that of the “free will” of the electron and that individual microphenomena are guided by teleological forces were other expressions of indeterminism.

Dialectical materialism, while rejecting indeterminism, at the same time points out the insufficiency of earlier mechanistic concepts of determinism and presents a new generalized concept of determinism based on the achievements of modern natural and social science.

A. P. OGURTSOV

References in periodicals archive ?
when no cause is apparent one simply postulates that no cause exists--ergo, the laws of physics are indeterministic and can be expressed only in probability form.
The anti-realist (if not idealist) Mahayana idea that Wallace seems to have in mind, simplifying greatly, is that there is no concepttual-construction-independent or independently existing substantive reality, but both deterministic and indeterministic models depict reality as a conceptual-construction-independent, independently existing substantive or objective reality: on the deterministic view, a conception-independent reality is constituted by a sequence of discrete events all of which are causally necessitated; on the indeterministic view, a conception-independent reality is constituted by a sequence of discrete events many of which are not causally necessitated.
I believe, however, that the easy-going mood is the appropriate analog to subjectivism, while the strenuous moral mood corresponds to the moral life animating an indeterministic universe.
12) The second is novel: I want to combine such indeterministic efficient causality (the past affects the present) with Peters' retroactive causality (the future affects the present).
to an indeterministic perspective in which children are given full decision capacity.
In his poem Lucretius was able to make a case for free will by postulating that atoms had an indeterministic tendency to swerve at random--hence the title of renowned literary theorist Stephen Greenblatt's latest work, The Swerve, which details Poggio's discovery of the poem.
Perry distinguishes between deterministic causation and indeterministic causation:
Any "class" or "collective" of events that he might assemble would be completely arbitrary and purely subjective if the world were truly indeterministic and random, because every event would be logically incommensurable with and unrelated to every other event.
Adler, 1964; Ratheal & Wilks, 2006); and indeterministic causality: agent causality-immoral behavior, unidirectional (e.
So rather than thinking of our culture as a set of objects to be passed along carefully, like so many baskets of eggs, from one worried generation of proprietors to the next, perhaps we can begin (again) to think of our history in terms of what Hegel called Geist; a spirit, unspecifiable by the laws of material objects; which would require for its comprehension, its mapping, an interdisciplinary, trans-methodological, general semantics of partial exchanges and continual transformations; and indeterministic, interdependent identitative-productive processes.
However, there are some contemporary theories of causation--like the probabilistic theories--that embrace the possibility that our world might be fundamentally indeterministic as implied by quantum mechanics.