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Environmental Determinism

  • By: Gabriel Judkins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Environmental determinism, also referred to as geographic determinism or even environmentalism, is the contention that the environment holds sway over humanity, controlling human actions and exercising a dominant influence on human development. While a range of perspectives exists on the degree of causal determinism that should be attributed to the environment, advocates of environmental determinism are unified in their recognition that the environment has an overriding influence on humanity. The implication is that the social and cultural behavior of humans is determined to a large extent by environmental factors that are asserted to exist beyond the influence of humanity. This conception of the relationship between humans and the environment has roots that stretch deep into classical history, possibly representing the earliest attempts to explain variations ...

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