First, my understanding of environmental determinism is the idea that physical environment, climate and geography shape human thought. Environmental possibilism and determinism are theories, put forth in and the observed effect of such interactions is called human geography. ADVERTISEMENTS: Dichotomy between Determinism and Possibilism of Geography! In the history of geographical concepts, there have been.

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The French geographers saw in the physical environment a series of possibilities for human development, but argued that the actual ways in which development took place were related to the culture of the people concerned, except perhaps in regions of extremes like deserts and tundra.

The geographers started to use the probability theory to determine the man and environment relationship and also to make a scientific study of the landscape. The possibilsim generally consider man a passive agent on which the physical factors are constantly georaphy and thus determining his attitude and process of decision making.

Taking this into consideration they utilize their geographical circumstances more or less according to what they are, and take advantage more or less completely of their geographical possibilities.

From such an exercise the geographer would identify the major changes that had occurred in an area as a result of occupancy by succession of human groups. The point of view is that the possibilisj environment controls the course of human action. Their weight and height increased after a period of time. Regional Concept of Geography: The study geograpby the interactions between humans and their surroundings, and the observed effect of such interactions is called human geography.

Possibilism – Geography

Emphasis Human modification of the environment. Environmental determinism is regarded by many people as overly simplistic because it neglects the cultural factors that affect human behaviour.

They also did not take into account the essential factor of human ingenuity and advancement in technology. Taylor concedes him the choice between WI. In order to better explain the development determinosm human determinis, with respect to the particular environment, a new theory was proposed, one that has been widely accepted and used.

This page was last edited on 16 Augustat He tried to explain differences between groups in the same or similar environment, and pointed out that these differences are not due to the dictates of physical environment but are the outcome of variations in attitudes, values and habits.

This relative isolation of the hill dwellers leads to orthodoxy, conservativism and suspicious attitude towards strangers. Fitting well into this intellectual environment, the theory of environmental determinism, developed mostly by geographers, was the prevailing view in American geography at the turn of the 20th century. Possibilism in cultural geography is the theory that the environment sets geograpjy constraints or limitations, pkssibilism culture is otherwise determined by social conditions.


Cultural or social determinism emphasizes the human element: Thus, possibilism explains that the environment does not dictate what people yeography become, but rather that the environment offers the opportunities for people what they choose to be.

Ritter attempted to establish the cause variations in the physical constitution of body, physique and health of men living in different physical environmental conditions. It might be that the introduction of machinery would reduce the arable area of a country or change the kind of soil considered desirable. There is evidence showing possibilissm terrain, topography, temperature, rainfall, humidity, vegetation and soil, individually and collectively, affect social and economic institutions and thereby the mode of life of people, yet the role gography man as a transforming agent of his physical surroundings is quite significant.

In no environment are the possibilities limitless and for every choice price must be paid, proponents of possibilism admit this, but within these limits freedom to choose exists.

Contrary to this, the people of plain parts of Europe are energetic, serious, thoughtful rather than emotional, and cautious rather than impulsive. Environmental Possibilism Environmental Determinism Geogrxphy Premise Humans can alter the environment to best serve their needs, through the use of technology.

George Carter singles out three fundamental factors in human geography. In the history of geographical concepts, there have been various approaches and schools of thought of study man-nature interaction. There are no necessities, but everywhere possibilities.

Aristotle thought that the people inhabiting the warm climates of Asia were intelligent but lacking in spirit and therefore subject determiniam slavery. This drives initially from the contrast between nature and custom in different places and came to be used in interpreting the great array of human cultural and biological differences. He argued that the colder climates of Europe produced brave but unintelligent people who were able to maintain their independence but who did not have the capacity to rule others.

Lab Safety Rules for Kids. The Pygmies also lose their characteristics when transplanted to plain regions where agriculture and cattle-raising provide much more varied food. It has also been observed that the same physical conditions of land could have quite different meanings for people with different attitudes towards their environment, different objectives in making use of it and different levels of technological skill.


You must be logged determinnism to post a comment. Thus, man and environment are intrinsically interdependent and it is difficult to say which becomes more influential and when. Fleure who tried to formulate world regions based on human characteristic rather than the traditional climatic—biotic regions. Its importance is often greater in regions where it has been acclimatized than in those where it originated and domesticated.

Cultivation of land by ancient nomadic settlements.

Dichotomy between Determinism and Possibilism of Geography

The belief that variations in human behaviour around the world can be explained by differences in the natural environment is known as environmental determinism. For the possibilists, the works of man, not the earth and its influence, are the starting points, the most important is the freedom of man to choose.

Similar argument is put forward by Hartshorne. The assessment of a mountain pass, for example, will differ for those who possess horses, automobiles, aeroplanes; the assessment of soil fertility will not be identical from the point of view of a Japanese farmer, on the one hand, or an Amazonian Indian, on the other. Kant was also a determinist, who stated that the people of New-Holland East Indies have half-closed eyes and cannot see to any distance without bending their heads back until they touch their backs.

Wheat, barley, olive, and vine, which dominate the Mediterranean countries, are entirely the products of human effort. What is also true is that as technology develops, the importance of the environment does not decrease but changes and becomes more complex. Possibilism has also been influential in the rise of the school of cultural geography associated with the name of Carl Ortwin Sauer and the University of California at Berkeley, and with the development of the idea of human ecology.

Physical environment, especially climate, exclusively shapes human culture and behavior. Many landscapes that appear natural to us are in truth the work of man.

Yes, environmental problems do constrain human societies, but the societies’ responses also make a difference. Vidal in his studies minimized the influence of environment on the activities of man.