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Causal (or Nomological) determinism[1] generally assumes that every event has an antecedent cause in an infinite causal chain going back to Aristotle's Prime Mover or the beginning of the universe. Determinists believe that there is nothing uncaused or self-caused (causa sui). Research in quantum mechanics complicates this position further (see 'Arguments' section below). Such determinism is sometimes illustrated by the thought experiment of Laplace's demon.

Logical determinism or Determinateness is the notion that all propositions, whether about the past, present, or future, are either true or false. A belief in Causal Determinism along with this Logical Determinism together define what is called 'Hard Determinism' (discussed further below). Note that one can support Causal Determinism without necessarily supporting Logical Determinism (depending on one's views on the nature of time) and vice versa. The problem of free will is especially salient now with Logical Determinism: how can choices be free, given that propositions about the future already have a truth value in the present (i.e. it is already determined as either true or false)? This is referred to as the problem of future contingents.[1] Often synonymous with Logical Determinism are the ideas behind Spatio-temporal Determinism or Eternalism: the view of special relativity. J. J. C. Smart, a proponent of this view, uses the term "tenselessness" to describe the simultaneous existence of past, present, and future. In physics, the "block universe" of Hermann Minkowski and Albert Einstein assumes that time is simply a fourth dimension that already exists (like the three spatial dimensions). In other words, all the other parts of time are real, just like the city blocks up and down one's street, although we only ever perceive one part of time.

Historical determinism is the stance in explaining history, or advocating a political position, that events are historically predetermined (and/or currently constrained) by various forces. Historical Determinism is synonymous with Causal Determinism. It is associated with the dialectical idealism of G.W.F. Hegel.

Necessitarianism is a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility; there is exactly one way for the world to be. Leucippus claimed there were no uncaused events. "Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity." The focus, then, is on a sort of teleology. This view is similar, and often synonymous, with fatalism.[2] Fatalism is the simple idea that everything is fated to happen, so that humans have no control over their future. Notice that fate has arbitrary power. Fate also need not follow any causal or otherwise deterministic laws.

Theological determinism or predestination is the concept that there is a God who determines all that humans will do, either by knowing their actions in advance, via some form of omniscience[3] or by decreeing their actions in advance.[4] The problem of free will, in this context, is the problem of how our actions can be free if there is a being who has determined them for us ahead of time.

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