n. (context philosophy English) The belief that possible things exist.
Possibilism in cultural geography is the theory that the environment sets certain constraints or limitations, but culture is otherwise determined by social conditions. In Cultural ecology Marshall Sahlins used this concept in order to develop alternative approaches to the environmental determinism dominant at that time in ecological studies. Theory by Strabo in 64 BC that we, humans, can make things happen by our own intelligence over time. Strabo cautioned against the assumption that nature and actions of humans were determined by the physical environment they inhabited. He observed that humans were the active elements in a human-environmental partnership.
The controversy between geographical possibilism and determinism might be considered as one of (at least) three dominant epistemologic controversies of contemporary geography. The other two controversies are 1) the "debate between neopositivists and neokantians about the "exceptionalism" or the specificity of geography as a science [and 2)] the contention between Mackinder and Kropotkin about what is - or should be - geography."
Possibilism in geography is, thus, considered as a distinct approach to geographical knowledge, directly opposed to geographical determinism.
The Possibilists were a faction of the French socialist movement led by Paul Brousse, Benoît Malon and others who brought about a split in the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France in 1882. Its leaders proclaimed what was essentially a reformist principle of achieving only what is 'possible', which they claimed was not the workers revolution. The political party of the Possibilists merged with other groups into the French Section of the Workers' International.
Possibilism, possibilist or possibilistic may refer to:
- Possibilism (geography), a theory of cultural geography
- Possibilism (politics), an 1880s faction of the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France
- Possibilism (philosophy), the metaphysical belief that possible things exist (e.g. modal realism).
- Possibility theory, a framework for reasoning with uncertainty in artificial intelligence
- Possibilism and Possibilists, a somewhat derogatory term for Reformist Socialism and Social democracy