Sociology Index


Determinism is the theory that examination of one or more definable factors allows for a complete explanation and prediction of the characteristics of society or the individual.

To argue that societies gain all their central characteristics from the psychological drives of human beings is a form of psychological determinism, and to explain the social role and behavior of men and women by reference chiefly to their sex is biological determinism. Crime and Criminology never really embraced the psychological determinism inherent in most learning psychologies.

Genetic Determinism - How Not to Interpret Behavioral Genetics 
Huib Looren de Jong, Vrije Universiteit, Theory & Psychology, Vol. 10, No. 5, 615-637 (2000)
Recently, investigators in behavioral genetics have found loci on the genome (so-called `quantitative trait loci' or QTLs) that are associated with complex mental traits, such as anxiety or novelty seeking. The interpretation of these findings raises interesting theoretical questions.

At first sight, the discovery of 'genes-for-personality' seems to support genetic determinism and reductionism. Genetic determinism is the view that the phenotype is precoded in or determined by the genotype. However, evidence from developmental biology and neural modeling indicates that development is a result of interactive processes at many levels, not only the genome, so that geneticism must be rejected.

Brain, Sex and Ideology - Catherine Vidal, Institut Pasteur, Paris 
Diogenes, Vol. 52, No. 4, (2005) International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies
Since the 19th century, and despite tremendous progress in science, the topic of 'brain and sex' remains a matter of misleading interpretations, far beyond the field of science. The media are not solely responsible for this situation. Some scientific circles still actively promote the ideology of biological determinism in their attempt to explain differences in behavior and cognitive abilities between men and women.

Psychological Determinism and the Evolving Nursing Paradigm 
E. Carol Polifroni, Sheila Packard, RN; PhD, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 
Nursing Science Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 2, 63-68 (1993)
The authors suggest that the behaviorist theories of locus of control, self-efficacy, and the health belief model are derived from deterministic philosophical premises. These premises are in direct conflict with the premise of free will. The authors address the psychological deterministic philosophical premises within the three theories and utilize nursing theories to compare and contrast the views of free will and determinism.