Discuss critically the concepts of empiricism and empirical methods in geographical research

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Discuss critically the concepts of empiricism and empirical methods in geographical research.

Empiricism and empirical methods are been used in geography and in others sciences research for many years ago. However, the different epochs, social movements and approaches moved away and moved back the different trends of the empiricism. Although the empiricism nowadays have lost some power, infavor of empirical methods which have taken place through the years as an important method in geographical research. Through some readings, lectures and magazines already analyzed besides my opinion and my own knowledge I will try to discuss these terms looking specifically in how from my point of view, they had fixed some bases nowadays in the geographical studies.

Empiricism has been definedcommonly by a philosophical doctrine that our knowledge comes from experience which arrive in the mind through the five senses. Aristotle was one of the first to introduce this approach through the terms “tabula rasa”. However the trends were changing through the years, indeed, Francis Bacon (1561, 1626), began the Modern empiricism promoting a new experimental philosophy, combining experience andreason. Basically empiricism is characterized by a passive observer who while observations (reflections) and feelings (sensations) make knowledge using the inductive method. However, it seems that he might be wrong because through the years, many philosophers had criticized this doctrine in order to find many others different doctrines which apparently try to study the science correctly looking atthe mistakes and theories from the other approaches. Thus, is it not empiricism? to use the experience looking for new methods based on mistakes, the old reference, the history, to make good works? Most of the cases we do not realized but we are using the empiricism doctrine, even the philosophers when they were criticizing the empiricism. For instance, the geographic determinism grounded on theinductive empirical method in order to reach the rational structure of the nature through the relation effect, cause, method, E.Chicharro Fernández (1987), Anales de Geografia de la Universidad Complutense Notas sobre el pensamiento geografico. In geography we need to observe and after to analyze. “Geography knowledge rest upon disciplined observation and it is a body of inferences drawn fromclassified and properly correlate observations” (Sauer;1924:19) from Cloke, P., Cook, I., Crang, P., Goodwin, M., Painter, J. and Philo, C. (2004) Practising Human Geography. London, sage, pp 1-33.

Otherwise, nowadays, geography is a multidisciplinary science. Some centuries ago, its goal was not maybe completely defined, it was more interested on physical process without linking with othersissues. But now, geography cannot be analyzed by his own. Geography is from my point of view a Social-Natural science that deals the open spaces, the areas with the living being, looking at their relationships. So nowadays it may seems a madness to talk about it just using one valid approach in geography. Actually, there was so many trends that now we have too many studies and ways to make geography.All of the different approaches appeared more as a reaction against to empiricism than as an individual approach. They were observing the empiricism, and from the experience they were taking other approach, indeed they were using the empiricism bases. Even so, the empiricism nowadays (walking together with the descriptive geography) is more used to regarding the physique geography in which you mayexpecting more than the human geography, which is more exploring and linking. That is why I guess, empiricism was one of the first approach in the world, for instance Aristotle used it to explain the physique mysteries of the world.

As Margarita Bowen (2009) says in Empirical and Geographical thought, from Francis Bacon to Alexandre Von Humbolt, “the first step in any program of constructive...
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