The Spirit and Purpose of Geography

By S. W. Wooldridge; W. Gordon East | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
CONCLUSION

Geography begins only when geographers begin writing it.

WE began by quoting the formally correct but rather misleading dictionary definition of geography. Everything in the foregoing chapters is, in effect, an expansion and commentary upon that definition and we have left much unsaid. Many other aspects of a great and growing subject present themselves for attention and still others will be discovered as the scope of geographical thought is extended and consolidated. All of them stem from the central root which, expressed in the simplest terms, is that the earth is the home of man and that man, whatever else he may be, is at least one with the earth and part of nature. The disputations about the scope and status of geography start at this point. To say that the earth is the home of man and man part of nature may, on the one hand, be dismissed as a palpable truism or, on the other, regarded, as the geographer regards it, as a profound truth worthy of detailed study and careful reflection.

In seeking here to draw together a few of the lines of thought we have sought to follow, we note in the first place that geography as a subject involves not special material and a rigidly bounded field but a point of view. Lest this seem an over-modest and insufficient claim, let us recall that it is not a point of view lightly adopted for mere purposes of argument but one only to be attained by an arduous discipline. To the study of many human problems the lawyer brings a distinctive and indisputable point of view, based on a recognized expertise. No one is likely to underrate the value and validity of legal training because it is applied to problems with elements

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