[From Greek automatismos: that which happens on its own.]
(metaphysics) The doctrine that the actions of animals are mechanistically determined. In particular, this doctrine is one constituent of Cartesianism, since Descartes (1596-1650) advocated a strict determinism or mechanism in biology. Although automatism has little basis in biological fact, its core beliefs have persisted into recent times under different names (e.g., see behaviorism).
The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre
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