Causal determinism is the belief that every event in nature is caused directly by preceding events and conditions, guided by the laws of nature. This form of determinism is tied to our understandings of phenomena in the physical sciences, and has also been applied to the philosophy of mind in the debate about volitional actions and freedom of will.
Determinism in the philosophy of mind
Determinism as applied to ongoing debates in the philosophy of mind holds that all volitional actions are invariably determined by pre-existing circumstances and states of mind. Materialistic determinism maintains that all volitional actions can be reduced to physical and electrical signals in the brain, which can be further reduced to the physical and electrical signals that preceded them. Thus there is no such thing as freedom of will, but rather an illusion created by the higher level self-consciousness of the person. Basically, the materialist view holds to a strong causal determinism for mental states and psychology.
Determinism in biology
There are two main notions of determinism in biology. The first notion of biological determinism holds that all actions, behaviors, beliefs and desires are reducible to the interactions of expressed genes and their products. This is also known as genetic determinism.
The second notion of biological determinism centers around the question of whether biological history itself was a determined history. In other words, it centers around the question of what would happen biologically if we re-ran the tape of history. Would evolutionary history repeat itself or is there too much contingency involved in evolution. This question hinges on our answer to the question of causal determination
Web Resources On Determinism
Bibliography on Free Will and Determinism
Society of Natural Science
Book Resources On Determinism
Freedom and Determinism by Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, David Shier (Eds.)
On Determinism and Freedom by Ted Honderich
Free Will and Determinism: A Dialogue by Clifford Williams