Determinism is the belief that everything that occurs in the universe is 100% caused by everything that occurred before it, since the beginning of time.
Hard determinists do not believe in free will at all, and consider the concept illogical.
Soft determinists claim to believe in both free will and determinism. They awkwardly try to reframe free will as compatible with a scientific, empirical view of the world.
Opponents to soft and hard determinism are called, "indeterminists", but rarely have heard of that term. Indeterminists instead self-identify under a number of religions and philosophies which believe in cartesian dualism, which is the idea that everything is part of the natural world, except brain activity in humans.
Not a fringe theory
Hard determinism is the basis for all the hard sciences. Try answering any science quiz with, "the proton just chose to", or "its the protons free choice!", or "I hate this neuroscience, you are dehumanizing the human brain!". Self-described incels tend to be hard determinists. Some famous academic hard determinists include
- Galen Strawson
- Patricia Churchland, analytic philosopher who wrote, "The Computational Mind".
- Francis Crick, who solved DNA structure, and also wrote The Astonishing Hypothesis which argued against free will in a hard determinist context.
Determinism vs. fatalism
Determinism doesnt make a claim on what should be done. Fatalism does. Determinism is descriptive whereas fatalism is prescriptive. Fatalism is more of a lifestyle whereas hard determinism is a philosophy. Even though a belief in hard determinism easily leads to fatalism, the two are not the same concepts.