Approaches to Human Geography is the essential student primer on theory and practice in Human Geography. It is a systematic review of the key ideas and debates informing post-war geography, explaining how those ideas work in practice. Avoiding jargon - while attentive to the rigor and complexity of the ideas that underlie geographic knowledge – the text is written for students who have not met philosophical or theoretical approaches before. This is a beginning guide to geographic research and practice.

Positivistic Geographies and Spatial Science

Positivistic Geographies and Spatial Science

Positivistic geographies and spatial science

Introducing Positivism

Positivism is a set of philosophical approaches that seeks to apply scientific principles and methods, drawn from the natural and hard sciences, to social phenomena in order to explain them. Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is widely acknowledged as the father of positivism. He argued that social research prior to the nineteenth century was speculative, emotive and romantic and as a result it lacked rigour and analytical reasoning. Unwin (1992) details that Comte used the term ‘positive’ to prioritize the actual, the certain, the exact, the useful, the organic, and the relative. In other words, he posited that it is more useful to concentrate on facts and truths – real, empirically observable phenomena and their interrelationships – ...

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