Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1995, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (3): 279-287.doi: 10.11821/xb199503011

Previous Articles    

THE PHILOSOPHICAL PREDICAMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF GEOGRAPHY

Bai Guangrun   

  1. The geography department of Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024
  • Received:1994-06-01 Revised:1994-11-01 Online:1995-05-15 Published:1995-05-15

Abstract: Immannel kant raised that space can exist without material, thus human knowledge can be classified into history, geography and other sciences corresponding to space and time in phiosophy. Geography is a subject which researches the relations among different things but the universal character.In fact. time and space are both exist in the moving matter, space-time can not be separated frommaterial. The Kantian thought leads to the centrifugation and dispersion in geography and the scientific cognition system can not be set up for geography.Neo-kantiansm considers natural science as the subject to establish regulation and social science as the subject to record and narrate individuality. They have great difference in methodology.This thought is the philosophical basis of dualism in geography. It causes that geography is divided into physical geography and human geography over a long time. The regional school whose representative figures are Alfred Hettner and Richarel Hartshorne. regards geography as the science to narrate individuality. It leads geography to deviate from universal scientific methodology, and take the road of isolationism and execptism. It hinders the development of geography.Logical Positivism advocates unity in scientific methodology. It is of positive significance to the development of geography. But it considers geography as a space science, in this extent, return to the kantianism that ignores the research on the surface material environment. " quantitative revolution" and " theoretical revolution" in geography do not make remarkable achievement because the revolutions are influenced by the above methodology and the methodology for simple system is applied to study the complicated system.In 1960’s, with the outstanding environmental problems, social needs are raising for geography.At the same time. the improvement of methodology on complicated system provides favorable conditions for geography development.Although advanced technological means is very important in the development of geography, the key to the question is to have a correct epistemology and methodology. On the development of modern geography, we have some philosophical thought as the follows.To hold firmly to monism in geography. It does not mean that subjects should be mixed and systematic geography should be negated. It means regarding epigeosphere system as a developing evolution integration. Geography environment is a unitary connective integration which is made up of man and nature. Geography dualism to research on pure nature or pure society is wrong. The view of mechanism that wants to distinguish the proportion of nature or society from the whole system is wrong either, but research from the viewpoint of integrated law is the right way. Geographic environment is a unity composed of time-space and moving matter. The view that only researches on the space from the material environment separates the objective world. Geography study must return to the epigeosphere.Toattach importance to the study of the global environment. This is the basic point of theoratical study in geography just as the significance or atom and molecule in chemistry and physics. Global system is the basic point of geography study. The planetary law and the law of matter cycle and energy transformation on earth surface control and influence the motion and evolution of every part or factor of the epigeosphere.To strengthen the study of classification. Though there is difference in thousands of ways on the epigeosphere it can be differentiated as regional types and environmental types. Exploring the general law of the same type has universal significance for recognizing and building environment and benefits to the construction of geographical theory.To strengthen the study of modelling. It is difficult to find out closed " geographical generally acknowledged" or " geographical law" because of the complicaton and variety of geographical environment. Modelling approaches the practical fact more than rule. Model is the junior general knowldge and is a bridge to theory.

Key words: epistemology, methodology, monism in geography

CLC Number: 

  • P9