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Absolute Space

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Geographical space may be viewed from a variety of conceptual vantage points, all of which reflect and sustain various ideologies and interests in society at large. The division between absolute and relative space is one of the most long-standing and important of these contending theoretical frameworks. Absolute space is typically represented as fixed, mathematized, geometrified, asocial, and atemporal.

Absolute space has a long lineage in Western history that can be traced back to classical Greece. Plato, for example, equated light with the good, in which the cave is a metaphor for the kosmos, the world of human ignorance. For Plato, time was a moving image of eternity, an imperfect and untrustworthy mirror of eternal forms embedded in space that transcend time. Time is derived from change ...

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