Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cultural Determinism

by Anton Antonio
May 20, 2015

The term “determinism” is a philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent events that have already occurred.  Cultural determinism is a belief system that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are at emotional and behavioural levels.  This supports the theory that environmental influences dominate who we are instead of biologically inherited traits.

But how do we draw the line between cultural determinism and environmental determinism?

Some would argue that there is an approach to better understand the concept of cultural determinism… by comparing or contrasting it to the idea of environmental determinism.  It is quite a simple approach wherein the environment determines culture or, inversely, culture determines environment.  But the conflicting worldviews on culture and environmental determinisms can only be over-simplified.  Both concepts have unique parameters, weaknesses and passiveness that need to be analyzed for more accurate determination and identification. 

There is one thing that can equate both environmental and cultural determinism though… both can overpower biologically inherited traits.  Take this case for example…  “Mr. Philander Rodman has a son (Dennis) who was a famous basketball player in the NBA.  Dennis lives in the U.S. and speaks English with a black-American twang.  Mr. (Philander) Rodman settled in the Philippines and sired another son, Phil, Jr., who also plays basketball.  Phil, Jr. lives in Angeles City and sFeaks HEnglish with Ha KaFamFangan dicSHAn.” (Antonio, 2014)  Here are two siblings from the same biological father but speak differently on account of cultural determinism.

Just my little thoughts…

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Antonio, A. C. (2014). “Environmental-Cultural Terms”.  Retrieved on May 20, 2015 from

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