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.