Problems in the conceptual foundations of contemporary geography

Gately, John Edward (1980) Problems in the conceptual foundations of contemporary geography. Masters thesis, Middlesex Polytechnic.

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A duality developed within geography after Varenius accepted the Copernican paradigm, because of the wish to search for law-like relationships. National geographies contributed their own cultural values. Geographers accepted the cross-cultural terms through translation without being aware that political values were a paramount contribution.

The present paradigm within geography presents an ongoing confrontation between those who wish to quantify material that is amenable to scientific law-like transactions, and those ideographers who expand the regional concept. In Britain resource funding by different government departments
emphasises this division.

Geographers have always been eclectic in utilising materials, theories and ideas from other disciplines. This is recently true concerning loans from sociology and other social sciences; for proofs, justifications, theoretical references and explanations. Many usages of social theories by geographers present confusion to sociologists, because of their unusual if not bizarre applications. Different social theories may arrive at similar ends, but their logic runs through very different routes, from very different philosophies.

Echoing the ideas of Mackinder, David Harvey writing in "Social Justice and the City" suggested that geographers might untangle this web by relating the ideas of social and moral philosophy to geography, in a manner in which methods and philosophy would not be separate. This suggestion has been mainly refuted or ignored.

However from these two authors, it is possible to synthesize the four concepts, that contemporary geography finds problematic to deal with, through a combined philosophy and methodology. These concepts are the nature of scientific enquiry; of theory or explanation; of space; and of knowledge.

The contribution to knowledge in this pager lies in the inference that no form of geographical concept is either value or culture free. Every conceptual form is derived from a social theory, and every social theory has a political bias.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13458
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2015 16:20
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2019 08:42

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