- This work asks several basic questions concerning the nature of science and of geographical inquiry. In a preliminary fashion it asks: How can we have a truly human science? How can we have a truly human science of geography? And, how can we understand the nature of geography and its central problematics, particularly its concern with space and place, in this regard? The work is divided into four parts.
Part I, Geography and Traditional Meta-physics, shows how geographical inquiry is founded on an unexamined ontology of physical nature and a positivistic objectivism. The resultant objectivism and epistemological subjectivism have distorted the discipline's own conception of its subject-matter and its basic concepts. In particular, they have resulted in the unquestioned adoption of a conception of spatiality most appropriate for the physical sciences, but one which is of little value in describing the spatiality characteristic of man.
Part II, Geography and Phenomenology, shows how this underlying meta-physical position and fundamental ontology of physical nature has influenced the approaches to and interpretations of phenomenology in geography. 'Geographical phenomenology' is distinguished from phenomenology and phenomenological geography, and the claims that have been made regarding 'geographical phenomenology' are explicated.
Part III, Phenomenology and the Question of Human Science, seeks to retrieve phenomenology in order to counter positivist claims concerning science and to deny the objectivism and subjectivism of contemporary human science. We also show the essential relationships between positive empirical science and descriptive phenomenological science, and use phenomenology to ground the sciences, (i) in genuine experience, (ii) through clarification of basic concepts, and (iii) by the delimitation of the regions of the phenomena with which the sciences deal. Finally, we show how the character of science is essentially as abstractive, reductive, objectifying, and thematizing. The final chapter of Part III seeks to ground science in human experience in such a way that Part IV can retrieve spatiality as an appropriate and necessary conception for geography as human science.
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- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1983.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 44-05, Section: A, page: 1573.
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