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Definition of 'geographical determinism'

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❶Locations with hot tropical climates often suffer underdevelopment due to low fertility of soils, excessive plant transpiration, ecological conditions favoring infectious diseases, and unreliable water supply.

MARXIST DETERMINISM

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But we thereby learn only that it can happen, because it happened in Polynesia. As we'll see, food production was indirectly a prerequisite for the development of guns, germs, and steel. Hence geographic variation in whether, or when, the peoples of different continents became farmers and herders explains to a large extent their subsequent contrasting fates. That higher birthrate of food producers, together with their ability to feed more people per acre, lets them achieve much higher population densities than hunter-gatherers.

The same pattern of an abrupt start of food production dependent on domesticates from elsewhere, and an abrupt and massive population replacement, seems to have repeated itself in many areas in the prehistoric era. In the absence of written records, the evidence of those prehistoric replacements must be sought in the archaeological record or inferred from linguistic evidence. Early farmers surely didn't use molecular genetic techniques to arrive at their results.

The first farmers didn't even have any existing crop as a model to inspire them to develop new ones. Hence they couldn't have known that, whatever they were doing, they would enjoy a tasty treat as a result. Plant domestication is not a matter of hunter-gatherers domesticating a single plant and otherwise carrying on unchanged with their nomadic lifestyle. Suppose that North American wild apples really would have evolved into a terrific crop if only Indian hunter-gatherers had settled down and cultivated them.

But nomadic hunter-gatherers would not throw over their traditional way of life, settle in villages, and start tending apple orchards unless many other domesticable wild plants and animals were available to make a sedentary food-producing existence competitive with a hunting-gathering existence.

Domesticable animals are all alike; every undomesticable animal is undomesticable in its own way. Why was the spread of crops from the Fertile Crescent so rapid? The answer depends partly on that east-west axis of Eurasia with which I opened this chapter. Localities distributed east and west of each other at the same latitude share exactly the same day length and its seasonal variations.

To a lesser degree, they also tend to share similar diseases, regimes of temperature and rainfall, and habitats or biomes types of vegetation. The earliest wheels were parts of ox-drawn carts used to transport agricultural produce. Early writing was restricted to elites supported by food-producing peasants, and it served purposes of economically and socially complex food-producing societies such as royal propaganda, goods inventories, and bureaucratic record keeping.

In general, societies that engaged in intense exchanges of crops, livestock, and technologies related to food production were more likely to become involved in other exchanges as well. The New Guineans whom I know include potential Edisons. But they directed their ingenuity toward technological problems appropriate to their situations: This cultural barrier at Torres Strait is astonishing only because we may mislead ourselves into picturing a full-fledged New Guinea society with intensive agriculture and pigs 10 miles off the Australian coast.

Among the latter is the failure of the attempt by German conspirators to kill Hitler on July 20, , an event that had big consequences for the course of the last year of World War Two, the lives of millions of people, and the resulting map of Europe today. No geographic or environmental feature of Rastenburg ordained that the bomb would only wound Hitler.

Similarly, the differences between the current economies of North and South Korea, or between those of the former East and West Germany, cannot be attributed to the modest environmental differences between North and South Korea, or between East and West Germany. Still other examples are the many differences between the attitudes of French and German people, e. These differences are viewed as products of French and German culture and history for which no plausible geographic explanations have been advanced.

German as well as French geography provides geese and frogs. Image from The World Until Yesterday. Today, no scholar would be silly enough to deny that culture, history, and individual choices play a big role in many human phenomena. The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism otherwise called nondeterminism. Determinism is often contrasted with free will. Determinism often is taken to mean causal determinism , which in physics is known as cause-and-effect. It is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state of an object or event is completely determined by prior states.

This meaning can be distinguished from other varieties of determinism mentioned below. Other debates often concern the scope of determined systems, with some maintaining that the entire universe is a single determinate system and others identifying other more limited determinate systems or multiverse.

Numerous historical debates involve many philosophical positions and varieties of determinism. They include debates concerning determinism and free will, technically denoted as compatibilistic allowing the two to coexist and incompatibilistic denying their coexistence is a possibility.

Determinism should not be confused with self-determination of human actions by reasons, motives, and desires. Determinism rarely requires that perfect prediction be practically possible. Although some of the above forms of determinism concern human behaviors and cognition , others frame themselves as an answer to the debate on nature and nurture. They will suggest that one factor will entirely determine behavior.

As scientific understanding has grown, however, the strongest versions of these theories have been widely rejected as a single-cause fallacy. In other words, the modern deterministic theories attempt to explain how the interaction of both nature and nurture is entirely predictable. The concept of heritability has been helpful in making this distinction. Biological determinism , sometimes called genetic determinism , is the idea that each of human behaviors, beliefs, and desires are fixed by human genetic nature.

Behaviorism involves the idea that all behavior can be traced to specific causes—either environmental or reflexive. Skinner developed this nurture-focused determinism. Cultural determinism or social determinism is the nurture-focused theory that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are.

Environmental determinism , also known as climatic or geographical determinism, proposes that the physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines culture. Supporters of environmental determinism often [ quantify ] also support Behavioral determinism.

Key proponents of this notion have included Ellen Churchill Semple , Ellsworth Huntington , Thomas Griffith Taylor and possibly Jared Diamond , although his status as an environmental determinist is debated. Other 'deterministic' theories actually seek only to highlight the importance of a particular factor in predicting the future.

These theories often use the factor as a sort of guide or constraint on the future. They need not suppose that complete knowledge of that one factor would allow us to make perfect predictions. Psychological determinism can mean that humans must act according to reason, but it can also be synonymous with some sort of Psychological egoism. The latter is the view that humans will always act according to their perceived best interest. Linguistic determinism claims that our language determines at least limits the things we can think and say and thus know.

The Sapir—Whorf hypothesis argues that individuals experience the world based on the grammatical structures they habitually use. Economic determinism is the theory which attributes primacy to the economic structure over politics in the development of human history.

It is associated with the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx. Technological determinism is a reductionist theory that presumes that a society's technology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values. Philosophers have debated both the truth of determinism, and the truth of free will. This creates the four possible positions in the figure. Compatibilism refers to the view that free will is, in some sense, compatible with determinism.

The three incompatibilist positions, on the other hand, deny this possibility. The hard incompatibilists hold that both determinism and free will do not exist, the libertarianists that determinism does not hold, and free will might exist, and the hard determinists that determinism does hold and free will does not exist.

The standard argument against free will, according to philosopher J. Smart focuses on the implications of determinism for 'free will'. On one hand, if determinism is true, all our actions are predicted and we are assumed not to be free; on the other hand, if determinism is false, our actions are presumed to be random and as such we do not seem free because we had no part in controlling what happened.

In his book, The Moral Landscape , author and neuroscientist Sam Harris also argues against free will. He offers one thought experiment where a mad scientist represents determinism. In Harris' example, the mad scientist uses a machine to control all the desires, and thus all the behavior, of a particular human. Harris believes that it is no longer as tempting, in this case, to say the victim has "free will".

Harris says nothing changes if the machine controls desires at random - the victim still seems to lack free will. Harris then argues that we are also the victims of such unpredictable desires but due to the unconscious machinations of our brain, rather than those of a mad scientist. Based on this introspection, he writes "This discloses the real mystery of free will: Some determinists argue that materialism does not present a complete understanding of the universe, because while it can describe determinate interactions among material things, it ignores the minds or souls of conscious beings.

Another topic of debate is the implication that Determinism has on morality. Hard determinism a belief in determinism, and not free will is particularly criticized for seeming to make traditional moral judgments impossible. Some philosophers, however, find this an acceptable conclusion.

Philosopher and incompatibilist Peter van Inwagen introduces this thesis as such:. However, a compatibilist might have an issue with Inwagen's process because one can not change the past like his arguments center around. A compatibilist who centers around plans for the future might posit:. Determinism has been established by the Greek philosophers, during the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Presocratics Heraclitus, Leucippus and mainly by the Stoics with the universal causal determinism and Aristotle.

Mecca Chiesa notes that the probabilistic or selectionistic determinism of B. Skinner comprised a wholly separate conception of determinism that was not mechanistic at all. Mechanistic determinism assumes that every event has an unbroken chain of prior occurrences, but a selectionistic or probabilistic model does not.

In the West, some elements of determinism have been expressed in Greece from the 6th century BC by the Presocratics Heraclitus [38] and Leucippus. The writings of Epictetus as well as Middle Platonist and early Christian thought were instrumental in this development.

If thou sayest 'He knows', then it necessarily follows that [that] man is compelled to act as God knew beforehand he would act, otherwise God's knowledge would be imperfect. Determinism in the West is often associated with Newtonian physics , which depicts the physical matter of the universe as operating according to a set of fixed, knowable laws. The "billiard ball" hypothesis, a product of Newtonian physics, argues that once the initial conditions of the universe have been established, the rest of the history of the universe follows inevitably.

If it were actually possible to have complete knowledge of physical matter and all of the laws governing that matter at any one time, then it would be theoretically possible to compute the time and place of every event that will ever occur Laplace's demon. In this sense, the basic particles of the universe operate in the same fashion as the rolling balls on a billiard table, moving and striking each other in predictable ways to produce predictable results.

Whether or not it is all-encompassing in so doing, Newtonian mechanics deals only with caused events, e. If an object begins in a known position and is hit dead on by an object with some known velocity, then it will be pushed straight toward another predictable point. If it goes somewhere else, the Newtonians argue, one must question one's measurements of the original position of the object, the exact direction of the striking object, gravitational or other fields that were inadvertently ignored, etc.

Then, they maintain, repeated experiments and improvements in accuracy will always bring one's observations closer to the theoretically predicted results. When dealing with situations on an ordinary human scale, Newtonian physics has been so enormously successful that it has no competition. But it fails spectacularly as velocities become some substantial fraction of the speed of light and when interactions at the atomic scale are studied.

Before the discovery of quantum effects and other challenges to Newtonian physics, "uncertainty" was always a term that applied to the accuracy of human knowledge about causes and effects, and not to the causes and effects themselves. Newtonian mechanics as well as any following physical theories are results of observations and experiments, and so they describe "how it all works" within a tolerance.

However, old western scientists believed if there are any logical connections found between an observed cause and effect, there must be also some absolute natural laws behind.

Belief in perfect natural laws driving everything, instead of just describing what we should expect, led to searching for a set of universal simple laws that rule the world. This movement significantly encouraged deterministic views in western philosophy, [45] as well as the related theological views of Classical Pantheism. The idea that the entire universe is a deterministic system has been articulated in both Eastern and non-Eastern religion, philosophy, and literature.

In I Ching and Philosophical Taoism , the ebb and flow of favorable and unfavorable conditions suggests the path of least resistance is effortless see wu wei. In the philosophical schools of India, the concept of precise and continual effect of laws of Karma on the existence of all sentient beings is analogous to western deterministic concept.

Karma is the concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions. It is understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect i.

Karma is considered predetermined and deterministic in the universe, and in combination with the decisions free will of living beings, accumulates to determine futuristic situations that the living being encounters. See Karma in Hinduism. Although it was once thought by scientists that any indeterminism in quantum mechanics occurred at too small a scale to influence biological or neurological systems, there is indication that nervous systems are influenced by quantum indeterminism due to chaos theory [ citation needed ].

It is unclear what implications this has for the problem of free will given various possible reactions to the problem in the first place. Christof Koch argues against it, and in favour of libertarian free will , by making arguments based on generative processes emergence. Thus the unpredictability of the emerging behaviour from deterministic processes leads to a perception of free will, even though free will as an ontological entity does not exist.

As an illustration, the strategy board-games chess and Go have rigorous rules in which no information such as cards' face-values is hidden from either player and no random events such as dice-rolling happen within the game.

Yet, chess and especially Go with its extremely simple deterministic rules, can still have an extremely large number of unpredictable moves. When chess is simplified to 7 or fewer pieces, however, there are endgame tables available which dictate which moves to play to achieve a perfect game. The implication of this is that given a less complex environment with the original 32 pieces reduced to 7 or fewer pieces , a perfectly predictable game of chess is possible to achieve. In this scenario, the winning player would be able to announce a checkmate happening in at most a given number of moves assuming a perfect defense by the losing player, or fewer moves if the defending player chooses sub-optimal moves as the game progresses into its inevitable, predicted conclusion.

By this analogy, it is suggested, the experience of free will emerges from the interaction of finite rules and deterministic parameters that generate nearly infinite and practically unpredictable behavioural responses. In theory, if all these events could be accounted for, and there were a known way to evaluate these events, the seemingly unpredictable behaviour would become predictable.

These philosophers make the distinction that causal determinism means that each step is determined by the step before and therefore allows sensory input from observational data to determine what conclusions the brain reaches, while fatalism in which the steps between do not connect an initial cause to the results would make it impossible for observational data to correct false hypotheses.

This is often combined with the argument that if the brain had fixed views and the arguments were mere after-constructs with no causal effect on the conclusions, science would have been impossible and the use of arguments would have been a meaningless waste of energy with no persuasive effect on brains with fixed views. Many mathematical models of physical systems are deterministic. This is true of most models involving differential equations notably, those measuring rate of change over time.

Mathematical models that are not deterministic because they involve randomness are called stochastic. Because of sensitive dependence on initial conditions , some deterministic models may appear to behave non-deterministically; in such cases, a deterministic interpretation of the model may not be useful due to numerical instability and a finite amount of precision in measurement.

Such considerations can motivate the consideration of a stochastic model even though the underlying system is governed by deterministic equations. Since the beginning of the 20th century, quantum mechanics —the physics of the extremely small—has revealed previously concealed aspects of events.

GEOGRAPHICAL DETERMINISM

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Geographic determinism What does “geographic determinism” really mean? The term “geographic determinism” is used by many scholars as a pejorative, to justify the quick dismissal of a proposed geographic interpretation of a human phenomenon.

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The reason is that environmental determinism, also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism, is the belief that a physical environment affects social and cultural development. The Theory. The theory of environmental determinism dates back to the 15th century.

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Neo-environmental determinism examines how the physical environment predisposes societies and states towards particular trajectories of economic and political development. It explores how geographic and ecological forces influence state-building, economic development, and institutions. When we use a verb, we often need to be able to refer to more than the time at which an event took place. We sometimes need to be able to refer to actions and states as completed or not completed.

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DETERMINISM (from the Latin determino, meaning “define”) is a basic philosophical theory about general interdependence and interconditionality of phenomena and . Geographic determinism is the central idea of Guns, Germs, and Steel (in a way, the other four themes discussed here are particularly important aspects of the theory of geographic determinism), but it can also be a counterintuitive way to think about human history. A “deterministic” model of history suggests that there are limits on how greatly human .