|Overdetermination is an ontology (a theory of being, of cause and effect,
of constitutivity) that argues for the significance of all social and natural
processes in the determination of all other social and natural processes.
For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger is constituted, as a unique human being,
by all his experiences and all the experiences that preceded him and all
the social and natural processes coincident with all those experiences
(which shaped those experiences and therefore shaped Arnie). In turn,
he has a distinct effect on all the social and natural
processes coincident with his existence.
Another example of the deployment of this concept is in a reconceptualization of markets, where one understands market exchange as complexly shaped by the unique combination of political, economic, cultural, and environmental processes of a certain location in space and time. Thus, the idea of the market has no meaning. There can be no singular conception of a market. A market in a particular section of Sofia, Bulgaria in 1999 would have a different logic of interactions and outcomes than a market in a particular section of Tokyo, Japan in the same year, and a different logic of interactions and outcomes than a market in that same section of Sofia in the year 2002 or a market created in Sofia through linking servers that process electronic data on bids and asks taken over the Internet. In other words, differences in technology, laws and political relationships, differences in popular consciousness, differences in climate and architecture, and so on will all impact the type of market exchanges that will or will not occur, as well as the prices and quantities of such exchanges.
The "butterfly effect" is an example of overdetermination applied to meteorology.
first used in a social scientific context by
Freud. He rejected reductionist
views of human behavior and consciousness. He saw human consciousness as
complexly shaped by every experience, even those not remembered. He
stated, in The Interpretation of Dreams (translated 1911), that
"there are no limits to the determinants that may be present" in the
consciousness of a human being. The human consciousness is, therefore,
The French philosopher Althusser introduced the concept of overdetermination into the analysis of social formations. Resnick and Wolff have further transformed the concept and adopted it into a post-structuralist version of Marxian theory.
Step in the Same
sensitivity to initial conditions