Geography as a European Science
David Stoddart is both a physical geographer and an intellectual historian. He
wrote a book called On Geography where he emphasizes a concern on "making
sense of nature".
Stoddart addresses the world in a particular way. In a tradition of exploration and
adventure. Physical geography on the global scale. But then the intellectual
ambition is no less grand--making sense of nature.
"a great tradition"--I am a geographer, and my work lies squarely in a great
tradition. There's nothing small minded about Stoddart's ambition.
Stoddart says "My geography springs from Forster, Darwin, Huxley: and it
works..." this is a history with a purpose, he claims previous geographers and
what theyve been doing doesn't work. It's an attempt to rewrite and represent
the history of geography with a specific purpose.
This is a man whose work is rooted in physical geography and not human
geography which we're ostensively concerned. But there's a reason why this book
is so important. Three Themes:
Physical geography and the natural science tradition.
Adventures in the field: fieldwork, discovery and exploration.
A normative history of modern Geography.
A book that Stoddart makes the claim that Geography is a European Science.
For stoddart, this claim turns on the need to establish the objectivity of
geographic inquiry. he moves from science into geography.
Geography emerged as a modern science when "truth" became our central
criterion. When did that h