(redirected from indeterministic)
Also found in: Dictionary.


Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although Popper is opposed to Aristotelian metaphysics, which he views as "essentialist" (37), he offers an indeterministic interpretation not only of quantum mechanics, but also of classical physics, understanding by indeterminism "a doctrine asserting that not all events are 'determined in every detail'" (38).
There are many a kind of indeterministic factors (such as noise) in a steganography process.
He, too, believed recreation was governed by indeterministic principles that made prediction of specific therapeutic outcomes problematic.
"Bohm showed explicitly how parameters could indeed be introduced, into nonrelativistic wave mechanics, with the help of which the indeterministic description could be transformed into a deterministic one.More importantly, in my opinion, the subjectivity of the orthodox version, the necessary reference to the 'observer,' could be eliminated ...
There seems to be little point, if any, in discussing which of these conceptions reflects "true" indeter-minism, or which of them better captures our ordinary conception of an indeterministic world.
In this case also, for a cell size from about 37 onwards, the location update cost will become indeterministic. On the other hand, the paging cost increases as the size of an LA increases.
Incidentally, Carter states that I believe that only "indeterministic systems are associated with consciousness, as conscious minds would be of no use to a mechanistic system." This quotation is from David Hodgson, not me, as clearly cited in the text.
In the theory of the Big Bang on the origin of the universe it is believed precisely that the singularity is the point from which the expansion of the universe started (Lafferty & Rowe 1997: 538-539), the "alpha" point, the spherical center in which all the known laws of physics are surpassed in what is probably a paradoxical physics of indeterministic order (belonging to Spirit) and deterministic chaos (belonging to matter) unified: in a word, a physics of "intercausality" (causality and acausality fused together) and of interfinitude (the finite and the infinite fused together).
For example, chaos and complexity theory are used to articulate the way demonic forces self-organize and create emergent properties that impact the world in chaotic, nonliner, indeterministic ways (e.g., pp.
Particle filter based color tracker is a robust tracker; however, there are many parameters to consider; the motion of the robot should be integrated to particle motion model to increase the visual tracker performance, which is very difficult to implement because of the indeterministic and uncertain behaviour of the robot that depends on the subject position.
But this ability is only virtual if we live in a deterministic world (because for it to be truly ultimately up to us, we would need to live in an indeterministic world in which our choices were not determined long before we were born).