Causal determinism (also known as determinism) is the idea that all facts and events are necessitated by other events and exemplify natural laws. The roots of the notion of determinism lie in a very common philosophical idea:

Everything can, in principle, be explained; everything that is, has a sufficient reason for being and being as it is, and not otherwise.

The concept of determinism in the domain of human action is often contrasted with free will. The argument called indeterminism negates deterministic causality as a factor and opposes the deterministic argument. Predeterminism, on the other hand, proposes there is an unbroken chain of prior occurrences stretching back to the origin of the universe.


Predeterminism is the idea that every event is caused, not simply by the immediately prior events, but by a causal chain of events that goes back well before recent events. For example, one’s personal characteristics are predetermined by heredity, by a chain of events going back before one’s birth.

In philosophical debates about the compatibility of free will and determinism, it is predeterminism back to the origin of the universe that philosophers mean by the more common term determinism. Some philosophers have suggested the term ‘determination’ be used to describe actions as merely determined by an agent’s reasons, motives, and desires.

Predeterminism and the similar term predetermination are often confused with the theological notion of predestination.