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Possibilism – Evolution of the Environment

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Possibilism – Man Changed Environment

Possibilism – Evolution of the Environment

Possibilism is a term that means that the environment only limits the number of choices available to a person, and that only he is responsible for all of his actions and has authority, but only within certain limits. Simply put, Possibilism denies the impact of environmental factors on human life. David Le Da Blanche, a French geographer, was the first to propose the concept of Possibilism. He stated that the environment does not completely define culture, but rather limits the number of options available to people. Environmental Determinism had been completely replaced by Environmental Possibilism by 1950.

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Man Has Changed the Environment – Examples Of Possibilism:


Man has altered the environment by expanding its capacity to meet his vastly increased needs and demands. In this regard, the most visible and common examples are; Revolutionary War Agricultural Progress Revolution in technology Their background is briefly explained below:

The Industrial Revolution, which began in the 18th century in Great Britain, transformed people’s lifestyles. It was not a one-time occurrence, but rather the result of a series of inventions. It began in the United Kingdom in 1750 and spread to North America and Europe in the nineteenth century, followed by the rest of the world in the twentieth.

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Agricultural Advancement: The Green Revolution, the invention of fertilisers and pesticides, modern irrigation methods, and organic farming methods have all contributed to the high output of crops and other agricultural products needed to meet the world’s high food demand. Humans made all of these efforts to meet their increased demands, demonstrating the influence of Possibilism.

Modern means of communication, such as computers, the internet, mobile phones, and cable television, have transformed the world into a global village. Nanotechnology has given birth to revolutionary inventions that have both simplified and complicated people’s lives.

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You can now see and communicate with loved ones who are thousands of miles away in seconds. These revolutions have aided humans in making their lives more convenient and comfortable. These revolutions demonstrate unequivocally that human activities have an impact on the natural environment.


David Lewis is frequently regarded as a typical, if not the quintessential, possibilist. (See, for example, Lewis [1986].) Lewis’ possibilism, on the other hand, is quite unique. It is therefore necessary to contrast it with the “classical” variety of possibilism discussed in this article.

Classical possibilism is based on the idea that there is a significant ontological distinction to be made between being and existence, or actuality. Being is the broader of the two concepts, encompassing everything in any sense. Every existing thing is, but not everything there is, according to the classical possibilist. Possibilia refers to things that do not exist but could have.

Things that do not exist but could have are known as (mere) possibilia. The distinction between being and existence can be traced back to the Stoics[1].

A number of mediaeval philosophers have also suggested it. Notably, Knuuttila [1993] finds hints of the distinction in Scotus, and Prior [1957] (pp. 30-31) observes that it “seems to be presupposed in the mediaeval doctrine of ampliatio.” [2] The distinction appears to have been first expressed and defended clearly in Bolzano (see Berg [1973] and Schnieder [2007]), but the best known exposition is found in Russell [1903], 427:

“Being is what belongs to every possible term, every possible object of thought…. The phrase “A is not” must always be false or meaningless. Because A could not be said to be nothing if it were nothing…. Numbers, the Homeric gods, relations, chimaeras, and four-dimensional spaces all have being, because we couldn’t make propositions about them if they weren’t entities of some kind. Being is thus a general attribute of everything, and mentioning anything proves that it is. Existence, on the other hand, is the exclusive prerogative of some beings.”

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In this passage, Russell is not explicit about what he means by ‘existence,’ but it is clear that what he has in mind is concrete existence, existence in space-time. [3] Being, on the other hand, includes not only concretely existing objects, but also abstract entities (which many contemporary philosophers consider to be actually existing entities) and fictional objects; indeed, for the young Russell, any logically coherent description — famously, ‘the golden mountain’ — denotes an object that possesses being, if not full-fledged actuality.

Ironically, Russell’s ontology in [1903] does not include possible objects, but this is due to his own scepticism about the coherence of modal concepts, not the being/existence distinction.

[4] What is important here, and what distinguishes classical possibilism, is the idea that existence is a non-relational property that not all things have, a property that is “the prerogative of some only among beings.” What distinguishes classical possibilism in particular is the thesis that at least some nonactual objects, those that exemplify being alone, are contingently nonactual; they fail to be actual but could have been actual. There are no actual golden mountains, for example, but there are possible golden mountains, that is, things that would have been golden mountains if they existed. (Schnieder (2007) contends that Bolzano was a possibilist in this sense.)

Following Quine [1948], Lewis rejects any distinction between being and existence, and thus the notion that there are things that do not exist (but could have). (He makes this point particularly well in Lewis [1990].) There is no special ontological property that distinguishes hypothetical objects from actual ones, or hypothetical worlds from actual worlds. Other possible worlds and their inhabitants, according to Lewis, exist in the same way and with the same tenacity as the actual world and its inhabitants. As a result, Lewis cannot be classified as a classical possibilist.

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Lewis, on the other hand, distinguishes between existence and actuality, and it is true that for him, there are things that are not actual. His explicit support for this proposition is without a doubt the primary reason he is regarded as a possibilist. However, in Lewis’s opinion, this proposition does not express what it does for a classical possibilist. Actuality, according to Lewis, is a relational property of things — one object is actual relative to another if they both occupy the same possible world. For Lewis, the predicate ‘actual’ is indexical, as when we discuss the present moment or a nearby store.

It derives its meaning from the speaker’s spatiotemporal location on any given occasion of utterance. As a result, for Lewis, the fact that some things fail to be actual is no more ontologically significant than the fact that some things fail to be within five metres of me. Nonactual objects are no different from actual objects from an ontological standpoint; they simply do not exist (in the broadest possible sense). (For a related discussion, see Linsky and Zalta [1991].)

To summarise, the distinction between being and existence is fundamental to classical possibilism. Lewis rejects this distinction, and thus is not a classical possibilityist.[5] As a result, because actualism is contrasted entirely with classical possibilism in this article, Lewis’s views — while crucial for metaphysics and the semantical analysis of modal discourse, in particular — are simply not directly relevant.

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