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Indeterminism is the concept that events (certain events, or events of certain types) are not caused deterministically (cf. causality) from prior events.

Generalized from this concept, indeterminism is also a philosophical position that maintains that any form of determinism is incorrect because it is ultimately metaphysical —ie. events in reality are not (according to total indeterminism) related by deterministic causality. Indeterminism argues that there are many events which do not correspond with any determinism (and therefore are either uncaused, or caused in a manner that the corresponding form of determinism does not allow). While metaphysical determinism rules out chance, theorizing that becoming is only by necessity, scientifical indeterminism sees alternating between chance and necessity, where the first is cause and change, and the second maintains the unchanged or static.

This form of indeterminism is in the thesis of the French biologist Jacques Monod (Nobel Prize 1965) and is exhibited in the essay "Chance and necessity". Others scientists, as Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and Murray Gell-Mann, show the indeterminism also concerning physics, cosmology and theoretical philosophy. The physicist-chemist Ilya Prigogine (Nobel Prize 1977) demonstrated the indeterminism typical of evolutionary complex systems.

First in this book Order Out of Chaos (Man's new dialogue with nature) published in 1984 and wrote with Isabelle Stengers, and later in The End of Certainty (1997), Prigogine strengthened his theses running a radical indeterminism that means just “The end of (metaphysical) determinism”. Prigogine deals with some of the difficult questions that bedevil physicists trying to provide an explanation for the world we observe. How is it, for instance, that basic principles of quantum mechanics--which lack any differentiation between forward and backward directions in time--can explain a world with an "arrow of time" headed unambiguously forward? And how do we escape classical physics' assertion that the world is deterministic? Prigogine explores deeply deterministic chaos, not-equilibrium thermodynamics, and even cosmology and the origin of the universe. He gets so an explanation based on a new indeterministic horizon, that can reconcile physical laws with subjective reality, that is mainly depending on chance.

See also

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