Does causality implies determinism?

Causation is a necessary relation between cause and effect and I consider determinism as "state of the future will be uniquely fixed by the past's state "

Are there some possible worlds with causality without determinism?

  • Causal reactions are not necessarily generous, violet, sad, electric, grinded, aggressive, linear, progressive, polemic, verbal, Greek, repetitive, childish, or deterministic. NO.
    – RodolfoAP
    Jun 18, 2022 at 19:53

3 Answers 3


According to Merriam-Webster

Determinism: a theory or doctrine that acts of the will [...], occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws

causality: the relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena

The only difference between the two concepts as defined above seems to me: Causality is the name of the binary relation ‚causes' between a pair of events, while determinism states that causality exists in a series of important domains of our world. Hence causality is not an empty relation.

Note that causality makes no statement about the kind of relation between the two events. That's one of the main problems the concept of 'causality' leaves open. There are famous but different answers given by Hume and by Kant. Even today it is open if there is a physical quantity transferred from the first event to the second. Nevertheless causality is one of the main principles in physical theories - with the exception of quantum mechanics.

  • what do you mean by the kind of relation between two events? my main question is as follows : does causality implies some universal laws between events? for example, laws of nature are that kind of relation between events?
    – reza-ebadi
    Jun 15, 2022 at 18:55
  • @reza-ebadi Your q.1: ‚kind of relation‘ asks whether there is a certain quantity transferred from event 1 to event 2? – Your q.2 and 3: I consider it just the opposite way around: The concept of ‚causality‘ prompts to find laws of nature which allow to establish a relation between pairs of events such that knowing event 1 allows to compute event 2. The concept is implemented by establishing differential equations, one of the main tools of mathematical physics.
    – Jo Wehler
    Jun 15, 2022 at 21:30
  • Very well explained, see my answer as well
    – Nikos M.
    Jun 16, 2022 at 17:02

Adapting my other answer, the short answer is no, causality does not necessarily imply determinism, causality can co-exist with indeterminism.

Causality in the sense of "effects have causes" is not identical to determinism as of "causes uniquely determine the effects".

Causality can co-exist with indeterminism proper, in the sense that causes drive towards a set of possible outcomes (and not other), even though which exact element from this set is realized is still open.

Causality takes the form "Causes C uniquely entail set of elements E is realized (by one of its elements)".

Also causality can acquire meaning in indeterminism, while it has either trivial or non-existent meaning in determinism (see ref).

I point you towards the linked answer for more details and some references.


Causality does not imply determinism.

Determinism, which you define correctly, means two things in the context of causality:

  • Causes determine their effects with absolute accuracy (~uniquely fixed). There is no random variation, no inaccuracy of any kind.
  • Only prior physical events can cause effects. This excludes agent causation, where actions are caused by the agent's decisions to act (=free will).

So, reality is a world with causality without determinism.


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