Philosophy of geography

Philosophy of geography is the subfield of philosophy which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and axiological issues in geography, with geographic methodology in general, and with more broadly related issues such as the perception and representation of space and place.


Though methodological issues concerning geographical knowledge have been debated for centuries, Richard Hartshorne (1899–1992) is often credited with its first major systematic treatment in English, The Nature of Geography: A Critical Survey of Current Thought in the Light of the Past, which appeared in 1939, and which prompted several volumes of critical essays in subsequent decades. John Kirtland Wright (1891–1969), an American geographer notable for his cartography and study of the history of geographical thought, coined the related term geosophy in 1947, for this kind of broad study of geographical knowledge. Other books oft-cited as key works in the field include David Harvey's 1969 Explanation in Geography and Henri Lefebvre's 1974 The Production of Space. It was a discussion of issues raised by the latter which in part inspired the founding of a Society for Philosophy and Geography in the 1990s.

The Society for Philosophy and Geography was founded in 1997 by Andrew Light, a philosopher currently at George Mason University, and Jonathan Smith a geographer at Texas A&M University. Three volumes of an annual peer-reviewed journal, Philosophy and Geography, were published by Rowman & Littlefield Press which later became a bi-annual journal published by Carfax publishers. This journal merged with another journal started by geographers, Ethics, Place, and Environment, in 2005 to become Ethics, Place, and Environment: A journal of philosophy and geography published by Routledge. The journal was edited by Light and Smith up to 2009, and has published work by philosophers, geographers, and others in allied fields, on questions of space, place, and the environment broadly construed. It has come to be recognized as instrumental in expanding the scope of the field of environmental ethics to include work on urban environments.

In 2009 Smith retired from the journal and Benjamin Hale from the University of Colorado came on as the new co-editor. Hale and Light relaunched the journal in January 2011 as Ethics, Policy, and Environment.[1] While the journal has since focused more on the relationship between environmental ethics and policy, it still welcomes submissions on relevant work from geographers.

A book series, also initially published by Rowman & Littlefield, and later by Cambridge Scholars Press, began in 2002 to publish the transactions of the Society for Philosophy and Geography's annual meetings, organized by Gary Backhaus and John Murungi of Towson University.[2] In 2005 the society sponsoring these annual meetings became the International Association for the Study of Environment, Space, and Place, and in 2009 the book series gave way to a peer-reviewed journal, Environment, Space, Place, published semiannually and currently edited by C. Patrick Heidkamp, Troy Paddock, and Christine Petto of Southern Connecticut State University.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-01-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "IASESP Conference History". 2 October 2007. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Environment, Space, Place -". 9 July 2009. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2018.

External links

David Harvey

David W. Harvey (born 31 October 1935) is a British-born Marxist scholar and Distinguished Professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He received his PhD in geography from the University of Cambridge in 1961. Harvey has authored many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. He is a proponent of the idea of the right to the city.

In 2007, Harvey was listed as the 18th most-cited author of books in the humanities and social sciences in that year, as established by counting cites from academic journals in the Thomson Reuters ISI database. Some of the artists influenced by Harvey's work are Elisheva Levy in Israel and Theaster Gates in Chicago.

David Stoddart (geographer)

David Ross Stoddart, (15 November 1937 – 23 November 2014) was a British physical geographer known for the study of coral reefs and atolls. He was also known for key works on the history and philosophy of geography as an academic discipline. He was a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and then professor and later emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Index of geography articles

This page is a list of geography topics.

Geography is the study of the world and of the distribution of life on the earth, including human life and the effects of human activity. Geography research addresses both the questions of where, as well as why, geographical phenomena occur. Geography is a diverse field that seeks to understand the world and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they came to be, and how they have changed since then.

List of human geographers

The following is a list of notable human geographers.

List of philosophies

Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

Outline of geography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to geography:

Geography – study of earth and its people.

Richard Hartshorne

Richard Hartshorne (December 12, 1899 – November 5, 1992) was a prominent American geographer, and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who specialized in economic and political geography and the philosophy of geography. He is known in particular for his methodological work The Nature of Geography, published in 1939.

Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the UK's learned society and professional body for geography, founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences. Today, it is the leading centre for geographers and geographical learning. The Society has over 16,500 members and its work reaches millions of people each year through publications, research groups and lectures.

Thomas F. Glick

Thomas F. Glick (born January 28, 1939) is an American academic who taught in the departments of history and gastronomy at Boston University from 1972 to 2012. He served as the history department's chairperson from 1984 to 1989, and again from 1994 to 1995. He has also been the director of the Institute for Medieval History at Boston University since 1998. Dr. Glick's course offerings for the history department covered the topics of medieval Spain, medieval science and medieval technology, and the history of modern science. For the gastronomy department he taught a number of classes, including Readings in Food History, Readings in Wine History and has designed a class on using cookbooks as primary resources. He is currently the director of the Shtetl Economic History Project and is a corresponding member of Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona, an honorary member of Sociedad Mexicana de Historia de la Ciencia, and holds membership in the History of Science Society, the Society for the History of Technology, Sociedad Española de Historia de la Ciencia, Societat Catalana d'Història de la Ciència, and the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills. He has also authored numerous works pertaining to Spain, medieval history, Darwinism and other subjects.

Torsten Hägerstrand

Torsten Hägerstrand (October 11, 1916, Moheda – May 3, 2004, Lund) was a Swedish geographer. He is known for his work on migration, cultural diffusion and time geography.

A native and resident of Sweden, Hägerstrand was a professor (later professor emeritus) of geography at Lund University, where he received his doctorate in 1953. His doctoral research was on cultural diffusion. His research has helped to make Sweden, and particularly Lund, a major center of innovative work in cultural geography. He also influenced the practice of spatial planning in Sweden through his students.

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