Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography
Routledge – 2004 – 176 pages
This accessible and engaging text explores the relationship between philosophy, science and physical geography. It addresses an imbalance that exists in opinion, teaching and to a lesser extent research, between a philosophically enriched human geography and a perceived philosophically ignorant physical geography.
Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography, challenges the myth that there is a single self-evident scientific method, that can and is applied in a straightforward manner by physical geographers. It demonstrates the variety of alternative philosophical perspectives. Furthermore it emphasizes the difference that the real world geographical context and the geographer make to the study of environmental phenomenon. This includes a consideration of the dynamic relationship between human and physical geography. Finally, it demonstrates the relevance of philosophy for both an understanding of published material and for the design and implementation of studies in physical geography.
Key themes such as global warming, species and evolution and fluvial geomorphology are used to provide illustrations of key concepts in each chapter. Further reading is provided at the end of each chapter.
'This book provides an insightful perspective on how understandings that have emerged from geomorphology are influenced by what its adherents believe and the way they comprehend reality. It is in this context that Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography should find an appreciative audience'. - Annals of the Association of American Geographers
1. Ideas, Change and Stability in Physical Geography 2. The Nature of Reality 3. Entities and Classification 4. Forms of Explanation 5. Probing Reality 6. Systems: The Framework for Physcial Geography? 7. Change and Complexity 8. Physical Geography and Societies
Robert Inkpen is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Portsmouth. He has published in a variety of research areas including the degradation of historic monuments, landslide hazards and the history of philosophy of physical geography.