indeterminism


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

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 ?
The present reality issues are brimming with vulnerability and indeterminism.
Rather than view the social system in the image of traditional social science, inspired by Newtonian mechanics, as a linear system of predictable interactions, the approach of both Hobson and Keynes highlights the emergent character of social systems as self-organizing non-linear and evolving systems characterized by uncertainty and unpredictability and emphasizing both indeterminism and chance in the nature of events.
Early-period scholarship mostly shares a neutral, middle-path position between "rigid" (hard) determinism and "chaotic" (libertarian) indeterminism that I call "wiggly-determinism" and which I have argued is unsuccessful.
Keywords: Determinism, indeterminism, epistemology, ontology, reductionism, philosophy of nature.
to being inherent to a microsystem [5], meaning essentially that there is an indeterminism to the natural world which is a basic characteristic of the quantum level.
lt;{0}>This new vision is of a science that combines determinism and indeterminism, a science whose laws express, as pointed out by Prigogine (1997), what is possible, not what is true.
5) Later, in a chapter titled "Cause and Effect," (6) he discusses the possibility that free will could be based on quantum indeterminism in brain processes; having correctly dismissed that possibility, he then believes he has refuted any possible alternative to determinism.
We invite readers to explore theoretical concepts such as emergence, holism, mutual causality, indeterminism, polarity thinking, irreducibility, quantum physics logic (nonlinear dynamics and novelty), heterarchy, and the butterfly effect, all of which suggest ways of thinking that can offer creative solutions to some of our most challenging problems.
Two major sources that produce this indeterminism of social practices exist.
Second, James must make explicit what determinism and indeterminism mean in their respective denials and espousals of each.
Indeterminism in Sciences and Historico-philosophical Transdisciplinar Advanced Research Center, Italia.
summarizes an intriguing aspect of Ward's position as follows: "God had to allow indeterminism in order to give us free will, and this indeterminism then gave us natural evils" (202).