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indeterminism (countable and uncountable, plural indeterminisms)

  1. (ethics, religion, uncountable) The doctrine that all human actions are not so much determined by the preceding events, conditions, causes or karma as by deliberate choice or free will.
  2. (countable, physics) A case in which the uncertainty principle applies; a case in which certain pairs of physical properties such as the position and momentum of a particle cannot be known simultaneously.
    • 1975, Carleton Mathematical Lecture Notes:
      The classic examples in physics involve relativity theory and quantum theory and the recognition of the indeterminisms underlying those required the genius of Einstein and of Heisenberg.
  3. (countable) Any situation in which the outcome cannot be completely predicted in advance.
    • 1937, Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics:
      There is a whole gradation of more or less rigid determinisms and more or less free indeterminisms, as they have been given in various theories.
  4. (countable, computing) A situation in which there are multiple valid options for next step in a process.
    • 2003, Robert Nieuwenhuis & Andrei Voronkov, Logic for Programming, Artificial Intelligence, and Reasoning:
      In detail, an inference strategy has to deal with the following three kinds of indeterminisms: 1. the selection of the initial path, 2. the selection of the next branch B to be expanded, 3. the selection of the next linking step to be performed on B.
    • 2008, Hamid Sarbazi-Azad, Behrooz Parhami, & Seyed-Ghasem Miremadi, Advances in Computer Science and Engineering:
      These indeterminisms confuse a regular bus arbiter in deciding whether a transaction should be aborted or resumed.
    • 2014, M.B. Zaremba, Information Control Problems in Manufacturing Technology:
      This parallelism brings in conflicts and directional indeterminisms which cannot be solved by the CU.



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