Causalism can be defined as the belief that "everything has a cause." It can be extended to the idea that "every event has a cause" and that the physical world consists of a series of events as causes. This makes causalism more or less synonymous with determinism. Since it is the essence of scientific research to seek out causes, to find causal explanations for all phenomena, scientists generally lean toward causalism in their work. This biases them toward what William James called "antipathy to chance." Because a random event does not seem to "explain" anything, scientists and most philosophers generally are opposed to "real" or ontological chance. They regard randomness as an epistemic problem of human ignorance, our inability to determine all the physical variables needed for perfect certainty about the future. They may be called "causalists." The Greek word for "cause" (aition) also means "explanation."Normal | Teacher | Scholar
Causalism in the Philosophy of ActionCausalists believe that motives, reasons, desires, or intentions are the causes of behavior and actions, that actions are the direct result of mental states, not from a conscious free will guiding actions. This is consistent with the compatibilist view that our actions are completely determined but this makes them determined by our character (i.e., beliefs, desires, motives, feelings, etc.) which is essential if we are to be responsible for our actions. There is a "causal chain" of events, but our "self-determination" is in that causal chain, so we can be said to cause our actions. Two-stage models of free will locate the "free" part of "free will" in the generation of alternative possibilities (new "thoughts") for action. The second "willed" stage is the same as the compatibilist/determinist view, that our actions are the result of the statistically determined evaluation of those possibilities, subsequent deliberation, and then an ultimate choice governed by our character (beliefs, desires, motives) so we are indeed responsible for our actions. The two-stage model breaks the causal chain of determinism (actually pre-determinism) and is the most plausible model for human freedom.