虽然说《地理学和地理学家》有翻译的中文版本，但是相对学究的写作方式再加上翻译之后带来的另一层“误读”，使得阅读变成一种迷宫式的环绕，看了大半天还在云山雾绕之中，多亏andrew推荐了《All possible worlds: A history of Geographical ideas》，刚刚读了第一章已经完全吸引了我。这是牛津大学出版社出版的书，作者是Geoffrey J. Martin, 教授（Southern Connecticut State University），同时他还是《Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies》和《The Association of American Geographers: The First Seventy-Five Years, 1904-1979》的作者之一，可见其有深厚的地理学思想史的研究。现在书已经是第四版，我从图书馆借来的是第二版，第四版增加了一些当代的研究思潮和进展，在amazon看到的二手书40多刀，暂时没有拿定主意买不买。
its a complex universe: there are things (phenomena) on it produced by physical and chemical processes; there are plants and animals produces by biotic processes; and there is man himself, influenced by his natural surroundings and also an agent of change in his surrounding acting through economic, social, and political events. All these things and the events of which they are the momentary signs exist in complex association and interconnection, forming what is called the man-environment system.
The history of geographical ideas is the record of man’s effort to gain more and more logical and useful knowledge of the human habitat and of man’s spread over the earth: logical in that explanations of the things observed could be so tested and verified that scholars could have confidence in them; useful in that the knowledge so gained could be used to facilitate man’s adjustment to the varied natural conditions of the earth, to make possible modifications of adverse conditions, or even to gain a measure of control over them.
The new observations may demonstrate the inadequacy of the hypothesis, which is then withdrawn in favor of a new one or is substantially modified. These are periods of great progress. Then, when a conceptual structure becomes widely accepted and a paradigm of scholarly behavior is established, there is a period when observations increase so fast that they must be stored away for future use. These periods of intellectual stability are not periods of notable progress. Eventually, a new and sometimes radically different concept of the meaning of the observed data is set forth, and the sequence is repeated.
What then does geography do? It is important to understand that since World War II this question does not call for a definition of geography that would establish its boundaries. The trend now is for all fields of study to come together around specific problems. The process of separation has now been replaced by a process of integration in which each professional field brings its own special skills and concepts to bear on such major difficulties as poverty, overpopulation, race relations, and environmental destruction…..Geography has always had a holistic tradition so that it comes as no intellectual shock to study systems of interconnection and interdependent parts of diverse origin. Geography is closely involved with cartography in the development and use of maps, which are ideally suited to the study of complex location factors. A geographer is a person who asks questions about the significance of location, distance, direction, spread, and spatial succession. The geographer deals with problems of accessibility, innovation diffusion, density, and other derivative of relative location.
There are at least five different kinds of questions of geographic character that can be investigated: (1) There are generic questions that have to do with the content of earth space but that cannot be effectively answered without a framework of concepts to guide the separation of the relevant from the vast complexity of the irrelevant. (2) There are genetic questions that have to do with the sequences of events leading from past situations through geographic changes to present conditions; these are studied by the methods of historical geography. (3) There are theoretical questions that deal with the formulation of empirical generalizations or of general laws, perhaps even with basic theory, and with the methods of drawing logical deductions. (4) There are remedial questions that have to do with the application of geographic concepts and skills to the study of practical economic, social, or political problems. (5) There are methodological questions that have to do with experiments in new method of study, new techniques of observation and analysis, or new cartographic methods.
Although there are many in each generation of geographers who are inclined to establish their own methods of work as the only acceptable paradigm, these efforts have been resisted. The freedom to inquire curiosity leads has been preserved. There are still new worlds to be discovered by the enthusiastic scholars.