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 empty physical geography.
The text 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 and 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, the text demonstrates the relevance of philosophy for both an understanding of published material and for the design and implementation of studies in physical geography.
This edition has been fully updated with two new chapters on field studies and modelling, as well as greater discussion of ethical issues and forms of explanation. The book explores key themes such as reconstructing environmental change, species interactions and fluvial geomorphology, and is complimented throughout with case studies to illustrate concepts.
Table of Contents
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. The Field 7. Systems: The Framework for Physcial Geography? 8. Change and Complexity 9. Modelling 10. Physical Geography and Societies
Rob Inkpen is a Principal Lecturer in Geography at the University of Portsmouth. He has research interests in stone and rock weathering and the philosophy of physical geography.
Graham Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Portsmouth. He has research interests in Quaternary climate and sea-level change.
'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