Is there any evidence for the existence of some kind of "destiny"?

And if not: What about the "free will", its very much the opposite of destiny. Lets assume, our brain really is "only" an input-processing machine, generating certian outputs(actions/memories/etc.), then, this "free will" doesn't exist.

But if there is no free will, then there would be only destiny, right?

Edit: It could be, that I use the word "destiny" wrong here, but by destiny, I mean, the assumption, that everything we do, is already "decided". This could of course be accomplished by a God-like force or by the laws of physics. (Is there another word for the physics version?)

  • 1
    There's quite a bit going on in here which could amount to several questions. For one thing, there's a question about "destiny" that seems to see free will as its opposite (which seems to make destiny equivalent to determinism." For a second thing, there's the claim that our brain is best (or exclusively?) understood as an input-processing machine and this undermines free will ... Can you make clearer which bits are assumptions and which bits is a question you think could be answered on this SE? (ps you may want to check out the help center to better understand this SE)
    – virmaior
    Aug 9, 2015 at 23:23
  • Reasoning in terms of 1's and 0's might be related to the law of exclude middle. Maybe this is the problem and not so much the question?
    – Kris
    Aug 10, 2015 at 3:25
  • @Kris What would you put between destiny and free will? If our brain really is a kind of distinctive machine, and our "free will" is just the result of quantum fluctuations. Our behavior would be predestinated, but not predictable(yet)
    – Mystery
    Aug 10, 2015 at 6:18
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    You seem to be equating "destiny" with "determinism" in your question. I'm not sure if English is your first language or not, but generally "destiny" requires a belief in something like fate or God that gives things a place and a purpose in addition to the belief we cannot act freely to avoid them. In this respect, it's a species of determinism. But what's missing is why the determinism of being mere I/O machines would require us to have a destiny
    – virmaior
    Aug 10, 2015 at 6:54
  • @Mystery perhaps the ludic fallacy is more accurate. Determinism and freewill would be patterns to an elaborate "game" we create in our minds.
    – Kris
    Aug 10, 2015 at 12:24

4 Answers 4


The colloquial meaning of "destiny", "an attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable" as SEP's Fatalism puts it, is in fact compatible with "free will". The prototypical example is the myth of Oedipus, who was destined to kill his father and marry his mother, warned of it long in advance, and free to take any action and precaution to prevent it from happening. But trying to make it not happen caused it to happen. Folklore "destiny" only prescribes the (vaguely described) destination, not the path taken to arrive at it.

Philosophers are usually distasteful of this folklore notion because it is hard to justify a mechanism or agent that lets people act freely, but then contrives the circumstances to make some vaguely pre-specified events to happen anyway. So most philosophers that make a case for destiny make it into Destiny, prescribing every event in every detail. Ironically, this stronger claim is easier to defend, and the lines of defence roughly split into logical and theological fatalisms, and causal determinism.

Logical fatalism is usually treated as sophistry/logical puzzle since the time of Aristotle, and the other two require accepting some strong presuppositions. It is quite easy to make a case for Destiny given an omnipotent/omniscient deity for example, that would be theological fatalism. Under causal determinism the future is completely determined by the present (and therefore by the past), so Destiny is reduced to a side effect of causation. In the materialistic version it amounts to "biology is destiny" (replace "biology" with "character", "soul", etc. in other versions): our biological constitution together with external circumstances completely determines our actions, even if to ourselves we appear to act freely.

At one point causal determinism seemed to be strongly supported by physics (especially by classical mechanics), but not anymore. In hindsight, all that empirical evidence ever supported was that the future is only somewhat constrained by the present, not determined by it. And modern physical theories suggest that these constraints are rather loose, leaving plenty of room for "free will". So all available cases for Destiny are based on shaky assumptions.


In philosophical lingo, the idea that everything we do/the future is already decided/determined is called fatalism. There's a nice SEP entry about the particular.

Determinism, the idea that the future is determined by its causal relations to past events, is a form of fatalism; but there are other kinds, like logical fatalism (the SEP entry focuses on this kind of fatalism) or theological fatalism.

Most philosophers are compatibilists, which means that they think free will and determinism/destiny/fatalism can coexist. For a compelling argument for compatibilism, see Frankfurt's "Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility".

The discussion about free will and fatalism is really big, so feel free to ask follow up questions; just try to make them narrower in scope.


It depends upon what you mean by 'evidence'.

If two particles are entangled at some point, the future behavior of one of them is tied directly to the future effects upon the other. If you don't question the idea that a particle has its own properties, or that information can travel instantaneously across arbitrary distances, then both events, the cause and the effect, have to already have been determined while the particles were together.

(Modern physical theories, therefore, have to question one of these two things, or accept a rigid determinism compatible with destiny.)


As a Conscious Entity feels Free Will, we can't be sure that there is another Conscious Entity or there are other Conscious Entities that predestine, shape or weave our future.

If there is such Entity who predestine, shape or weave the future of another Entity, then it's clear that shaping the future of another Entity is the matter of life of such able Entity (able Entity=Entity that can shape the future of others.)

Determinism has no Conscious Entities behind it. It's about cause and effect, whatever cause exists the effect necessarily will exist. But sometimes we may replace Destiny by Determinism.

If there are Conscious Entities, having free will and there aren't Conscious Entities shape the future of such free willed Conscious Entities, then these free willed Conscious Entities are susceptible to Determinism, not susceptible to Destiny, since there are no Conscious Entities that manage the process of Destination.

Since we as a Conscious Entities some times feel prone to act somehow, thus it is maybe predestined i.e: it is Destiny or just it's Determinism.

Free willed actions may also be predestined.

Conclusion: from all of the above we can conclude that there is no evidence for the existence of destiny as opposed to free will. Free will sometimes exists, but free willed Entities their future may be predestined or it may be just a determinism. Intervals of free will, in-between there are deterministic events, i.e: Determinism.

Again, there's no evidence for existence of destiny as opposed to free will. It's just intuition and believe, i.e: omniscient god shape the future of human kind.

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