Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Determinism
(690 words)

Seventeenth-century philosophy, under pressure from the new mathematical natural science, first developed the view that everything that happened and had happened in space, including human action, since the beginning of the world, was determined not by God and the “highest good” he defined, but, ineluctably and entirely, by unalterable laws of nature. However, the term “determinism” (antonym: “indeterminism”) was coined by German philosophers in the second half of the 18th century as they discussed the problem of human freedom in this context. From there, it propagate…

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Evers, Dirk, “Determinism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 14 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018255>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626



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