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Is geography a science?

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Is geography a science? Science, by definition, is: '...the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment...' 1 Geography is divided into physical and human dimensions; in the past, physical geography had taken pre-eminence over the latter due to the need of geographers to establish their discipline as an actual educational subject in colleges and universities. They therefore needed to impress upon the world its yummy importance as a science 5, which held much weight at the time, but can geography still be based in the world of natural sciences or has it shifted to that of a more social basis? As the subject in itself is now no longer entirely devoted to the simple science of, for example, gauging how fauna and flora evolve, it is important to evaluate whether geography has changed into just another extension of sociology and economics or whether it still as scientific as ever, even with these changes. The sciences relating to the physical world, like, are so collectively termed as physical geography. The natural sciences are those that focus on how the world and the organisms, including humans, living on and within it operate. The social sciences are those that centre more with humans and their role in the world; the difference between the two is often a very narrow line. ...read more.


This suggests that physical geography is being impacted upon by the human factor in the present, now more than ever. This is due to the fact that humans have an ever increasing influence on the physical world, for instance the reclamation of wet lands, disruption of the hydrosphere, holes in the o-zone layer and the decline of forests. Even though it is undeniably true that geography now encompasses a lot of material that is not thought of as 'true scientific studies', the discipline is still very much scientific because not only does it contain all of the true sciences such as hydrology and meteorology, but even when taking into consideration all the social sciences the discipline contains, all the scientists, philosophers, psychologists, theorists and economists all conducted research into their fields in a scientific manner 1 - they all study the 'structure and behaviour' of their particular geographies. The psychologist may perform numerous psychological tests on teenagers throughout Britain to understand better why there are a growing number of young smokers, just in the same way that the biologist will take beach profiles along eastern America to understand the distribution of marram grass across its coastlines. Though the two examples are highly different, both still perform studies in a systematic fashion and both intend on grouping their own findings and forming a body of knowledge on their chosen fields of geography. ...read more.


In short, due to the exchange of ideas between geographers, often through intermediaries such as the GIS systems and private enterprises, geography's focus on a better understanding the world and how to survive within it has been aided exponentially, thanks to the co-operation of natural and social fields. In summary, the discipline of geography has become very broad and encapsulates many things within its far reaching boarders. The world and its people have changed much since the time of Gregory, and due to this the study of the earth and its processes has also gone through a transformation. Geography is becoming more and more influenced by humans and their activities on the planet, but both of geography's spheres of influence conduct their actual practices in a well thought out and logical manner, so science is still very much present within the subject. The realisation that the definition of geography and also science as a whole are both so far reaching and interwoven that indeed science is everywhere and nowhere, and up to interpretation as to what can be included. Geography as a whole is no longer just a science due to the impact of humans. Its studies are now constantly built upon the impacts and views of past, present and even future humans. The subject that was once a science has shifted to that of one which focuses more and more on the human issue, as well as that of the physical. ...read more.

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