Fr.: démon de Laplace
An imaginary super-intelligent being who knows all the laws of nature and all the parameters describing the state of the Universe at a given moment can predict all subsequent events by virtue of using physical laws. In the introduction to his 1814 Essai philosophique sur les probabilités, Pierre-Simon Laplace puts forward this concept to uphold → determinism, namely the belief that the past completely determines the future. The relevance of this statement, however, has been called into question by quantum physics laws and the discovery of → chaotic systems.