A Brief Critique of Determinism: Who or What Determines the Determined?

If the underlying presupposition is that (a) all events have causes and that (b) all caused events have been caused by previous events – who or what determines what the cause of a particular event would be? Who or what decides that A would lead to B? And who set the dominos in that particular order? Why is A predetermined to lead to B? Could A lead to C? D? Who determines the outcomes? Who guides the process of determinism? Determinism itself does not seem to address this issue – it appears to quietly ignore it. If evolution is an unguided process, who determined the outcomes? If randomness is ultimately eliminated in a deterministic world, then evolution is a determined outcome that has been particularly fine-tuned towards a particular Aristotelian telos (namely, the betterment of a species). But what is “betterment” and who or what causes all things to move in that particular direction? The problem with determinism is that it presupposes a progression of events from A to B to C ad infinitum without actually explaining who or what made the predetermined decision that A should be followed by B. Determinism, then, does not explain the problem of a “determined” effect, it merely ignores it. In fact, determinism assumes a priori a determined cause and effect system of operation without actually dealing with what, I believe, is the crux of the problem: who or what initiated the domino effect of specific A cause followed by specific B effect? Moreover, if all events had an initial cause – that is, a predetermined initial cause – from whence arises what appears to be the plurality of causes and effects? Why not set in motion an “A causes B causes A causes B” ad infinitum system? Why set in motion a universe of almost infinite causes and effects? Plurality of causes and effects, to my mind, suggest the existence of the “absurd freewill.”

Written by Moses Y. Mikheyev

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