Determinism vs Fatalism
Determinism and Fatalism are philosophies or, in general, attitudes towards life, between which a number of differences can be identified. Both fatalism and determinism are of the view that there is nothing like a free will and that it is just an illusion. If we think that we are powerless and what is destined or is our fate will happen whatever we may do an attitude that is referred to as fatalism. On the other hand, those who believe that there is a cause of every effect and tomorrow is based on what we do today are termed as determinists or having belief in determinism. This highlights that these two philosophies are different from one another. There are many other differences also that will be harped upon in this article, through an understanding of Determinism and Fatalism.
What is Determinism?
Determinism is an advocate of cause and effect in the sense that whatever happens is a result of our past actions. It believes that even our present is a result of our actions in the past. This should not be confused with the term determination, which highlights the possibility of actions to create a change in the course of life. In determinism, the core idea is to causality.
For an example, if a person behaves in a particular way, determinists believe that there would be an effect accordingly in the future of the person’s life.The thoughts and actions are of an individual are causally linked to his future.
Determinism can also be viewed as a key principle of Behaviorism in Psychology. Especially Behaviorists such as B.F Skinner highlighted that the idea of determinism can be observed and also used when altering human behavior. According to this perspective, free will is seen as the opposition of determinism. The ability for human to act upon their free will is completely rejected by those who believe in Determinism.
What is Fatalism?
According to fatalism, all events in life are preordained. Fatalism says that it is futile to oppose what is happening and that what is going to happen, will happen and is inevitable. Fatalists would argue that talking about the past or present being different is futile as everything has been decided beforehand, and humans are merely puppets being made to dance by the almighty. Fatalism is of the firm view that whether we will be reborn or go to hell or heaven has already been decided, and we are merely following a course that has been charted for us.
There is some similarity in these approaches too as is evident by rejection of a free will and also the views on events in life. While fatalism says that events are predetermined (all events are inevitable and one cannot do anything to prevent them from taking place), determinism says that events can be re-determined but based upon our actions in the past. A fatalist will not look sideways before crossing a road as he believes that what will happen will happen and is not dependent upon his actions. On the other hand, a deterministic person believes that every action is a result of some action in the past, and thus he can take action to avoid an accident.
What is the Difference Between Fatalism and Determinism?
- Fatalism and determinism are two approaches in philosophy that have different views on events in life.
- Fatalism trivializes all human actions as it says that events in life are preordained and what is going to happen will happen, no matter what.
- Determinism firmly believes in cause and effect and justifies all events on the basis of actions in the past.
1.”Toppledominos” by Enoch Lai at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2.”Edmund J Sullivan Illustrations to The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam First Version Quatrain-051″ by Edmund J. Sullivan – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – First Version – Illustrated, translated by Edmund Fitzgerald. [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons