Positivism: or, roughly, what you see is what you get

Progress in Human Geography / Progress in Physical Geography Resources

Please note the first three articles per chapter have been provided open access, all other links require journal subscription access which may be available through your university.

Church, M, (2010) ‘The trajectory of geomorphology’, Progress in Physical Geography 34 (3): 265-86. doi: 10.1177/0309133310363992

Lake, R.W. (1993) ‘Planning and applied geography: positivism, ethics, and geographic information systems’, Progress in Human Geography 17 (3): 404-13. doi: 10.1177/030913259301700309.

Mather, P. (1979) ‘Theory and quantitative methods in geomorphology’, Progress in Physical Geography 3 (4): 471-487.  [Note that the ‘realism’ described early in this paper is Bhaskar’s critical realism – see Chapter 4 – rather than scientific realism in general].

Schurman, N. (2000) ‘Trouble in the heartland: GIS and its critics in the 1990s’, Progress in Human Geography 24 (4): 569-90. doi: 10.1191/030913200100189111. 


[The focus here is on GIS, but this includes some discussion of (debates about) positivism and GIS].

Smith, N. (1979) ‘Geography, science and post-positivist modes of explanation’, Progress in Human Geography 3 (3): 356-83. doi: 10.1177/030913257900300302.


Other resources

Bourdeau, M. (2011) ‘Auguste Comte’, in  E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2011/entries/comte/