de·​ter·​min·​ism | \ di-ˈtər-mə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce determinism (audio) , dē- \

Definition of determinism

1 philosophy
a : a theory or doctrine that acts of the will (see will entry 2 sense 4a), occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws
b : a belief in predestination
2 : the quality or state of being determined

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from determinism

determinist \ di-​ˈtər-​mə-​nəst How to pronounce determinism (audio) , dē-​ \ noun or adjective
deterministic \ di-​ˌtər-​mə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce determinism (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective
deterministically \ di-​ˌtər-​mə-​ˈni-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce determinism (audio) , dē-​ \ adverb

Examples of determinism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Technological determinism is the belief that technology is going to advance no matter what and societies either participate in it or lag behind. Hessie Jones, Forbes, "Intersectionality, Inequity And Imminence Of AI: A Human Perspective," 26 Apr. 2021 Dennett clearly means that deterministic processes can spawn phenomena that transcend determinism, like minds with free will. John Horgan, Scientific American, "Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life," 14 Feb. 2021 In this, Tsumura’s story resists the economic determinism of the American office novel, which tends to draw attention to the deadening employment ecosystem its characters are a part of. Apoorva Tadepalli, The Atlantic, "The Paradox of Caring About ‘Bullshit’ Jobs," 2 Apr. 2021 Indeed, this determinism is characteristic of the retributive models of justice that these algorithms serve, which focus on punishing and incarcerating offenders, and not on addressing the conditions that led to an arrest in the first place. Lindsay Gray, Scientific American, "What Does a Guilty Brain Look Like?," 18 Nov. 2020 By casting a cross-section of Britons from different classes, the series of TV productions set out to obtain documentary proof of class determinism. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Farewell to a Non-Visionary Filmmaker," 11 Jan. 2021 Theories of genetic determinism couldn’t explain these findings. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "An Intelligent Discussion About Race and IQ Is Possible," 15 Dec. 2020 Shaw’s resistance to determinism, and his insistence on the irreducible reality of human consciousness and will in nature and history, elicited Chesterton’s profound respect and admiration. M. D. Aeschliman, National Review, "G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw: An Ambivalent Literary Relationship," 5 Dec. 2020 Real-time operation is one thing, and determinism is another. Jacek Krywko, Ars Technica, "Definitely not Windows 95: What operating systems keep things running in space?," 2 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'determinism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of determinism

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for determinism

see determine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about determinism

Time Traveler for determinism

Time Traveler

The first known use of determinism was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Statistics for determinism

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Determinism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for determinism



English Language Learners Definition of determinism

philosophy : the belief that all events are caused by things that happened before them and that people have no real ability to make choices or control what happens


de·​ter·​min·​ism | \ di-ˈtər-mə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce determinism (audio) \

Medical Definition of determinism

1 : a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws explained behavior by the combination of an environmental and a genetic determinism
2 : the quality or state of being determined

Other Words from determinism

deterministic \ -​ˌtər-​mə-​ˈnis-​tik How to pronounce determinism (audio) \ also determinist \ -​ˈtərm-​(ə-​)nəst How to pronounce determinism (audio) \ adjective
deterministically \ -​ˌtər-​mə-​ˈnis-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce determinism (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on determinism

Britannica English: Translation of determinism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about determinism

Comments on determinism

What made you want to look up determinism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!