164 pages, 32 line drawings and 9 tables
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. Furthermore it emphasizes the difference that the real world geographical context and the geographer make to the study of environmental phenomenon.
Acknowledgements Preface Introduction Structure of book 1. Ideas, Change and Stability in Physical Geography 1.1 What are Ideas and How Do They Change? 1.2 Is There a History of Ideas in Physical Geography? 1.3 What are the Important Concepts in Physical Geography? 1.4 Chapter Summary 2. The Nature of Reality 2.1 What is Reality? 2.2 Views of Different Philosophies 2.3 Critical Rationalism: An example from environmental reconstruction 2.4 Reality as a Dialogue 2.5 Theory, Reality and Practice 2.6 Myths and Theories 2.7 Physical Geography as Historical Science 2.8 Chapter Summary 3. Entities and Classification 3.1 Introduction 3.2 What are Entities? 3.3 Entities and Kinds 3.4 Species as Natural Kinds 3.5 Magnitude and Frequency: Entities out of context 3.6 Classification 3.7 Classification Soils 3.8 Chapter summary 4. Forms of Explanation 4.1 Explanation in Physcial Geography 4.2 What is Explanation? 4.3 Causality 4.4 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions 4.5 Explanatory Frameworks 4.6 General and Token Type: Landslides 4.7 Chapter Summary 5. Probing Reality 5.1 Probing and the Dialogue with Reality 5.2 Measurement Systems 5.3 Multiple Working Hypotheses 5.4 Triangulation of Techniques: Measurement of surface form on rocks 5.5 Practice in Physical Geography 5.6 Linking Process and Form: Intensive study of bedforms 5.7 Probing Reality: Fluvial flow structures 5.8 Computer Simulation of Reality 5.9 Chapter Summary 6. Systems: The framework for physcial geography? 6.1 System Analysis in Physical Geography 6.2 Application of Systems Thinking 6.3 Systems and Change 6.4 Systems and Landscape Sensitivity 6.5 Chapter Summary 7. Change and Complexity 7.1 Equilibrium: An ex-concept? 7.2 Chaos and Complexity: More of the same? 7.3 Emergence and Hierarchies: Scale revisited? 7.4 Complexity and Change: Landscape evolution and organization 7.5 Chapter Summary 8. Physical Geography and Societies 8.1 Paradigms and Social Networks 8.2 Social Construction and Physical Geography? 8.3 Ethics in Physical Geography: Reflection required? 8.4 Physical and Human Geography: Division of integration? 8.5 Chapter Summary References
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Robert Inkpen is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Portsmouth. He has published in a variety of research areas including the degradation of historic monuments, landslide hazards and the history of philosophy of physical geography.