It appears to me that randomness could or could not produce something meaningful but either way hard determinism seems a better bet. Is there a writer who explores this territory?

  • 2
    Determinism and randomness do not exhaust the options, and the territory is called compatibilism. It is too broad to be covered here, see SEP
    – Conifold
    Nov 29, 2018 at 19:25
  • @Conifold I did not mention compatibilism as a possible approach to meaningfulness, true. But I did mention two other things in relation to meaningfulness. Is it possible to discuss meaningfulness relating to either randomness or hard-determinism?
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 1, 2018 at 12:28
  • I used compatibilism loosely, the idea is mostly explaining how determinism (hard or not) is not so bad after all. Other options include varieties of partial determinism/constrained randomness or schemes where the dichotomy does not make sense in the first place (which are most compatible with modern physics).
    – Conifold
    Dec 2, 2018 at 2:04
  • I find "randomness" to be incredibly tricky to define well. There's some advantage to Conifold's approach of looking at the wider territory of compatabilism to avoid having to pin down the pesky details of what randomness really means.
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 19, 2018 at 2:51
  • 1
    To answer directly; Spinoza maintained that randomness or what he termed 'free will' is an imaginary misconception. He espoused not hard determinism but rather the notion of necessity acting on laws of nature wherein everything which occurs is sourced in a chain of causality which removes any possibility of randomness. He addresses the topic of 'freedom' as a recognition of the role of the 'necessity of one's nature' in every human life. Freedom consists in understanding the workings and operation of the causality which forms us and has us conform to certain types of 'choices'. see his Ethics.
    – user37981
    Apr 2, 2019 at 15:38


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