PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2006, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 1-7.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2006.02.001

• Original Articles •     Next Articles

Humanistic Geography——A Personal View

Yi-fu Tuan   

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, USA
  • Received:2005-11-01 Revised:2006-01-01 Online:2006-03-25 Published:2006-03-25


Humanistic geography is a genre of geography born in late 1960s. It is the emerging period of humanism in Anglo-America. A series of theories came out which criticize the knowledge system of logic-positivism. Humanistic geography is one of them. The philosophical fundaments of humanistic geography are existentialism and phenomenology. Yi-fu Tuan, Edward Relph, Anne Buttimer, David Ley, Marvyn Samuels and Nicholas Entrikin are the leaders of humanistic geography. Yi-fu Tuan published the first article about humanistic geography, which was collected in Human Geography(1978). It is the first collection work on this field.   One of the main aims of humanistic geography is corresponding the following relations: social sciences and human, understanding and wisdom, objectivity and subjectivity, materialism and mentalism。Its task is to develop methodology of human geography, and farther to understand the position of mankind on the earth. These points run through each part of this article. The standpoint of humanistic geography for social criticism is ethic and moral. One characteristic of humanistic geography is to emphasize human ability of sense to the nature and the world. This article discusses that ability from three aspects. Firstly, geography pays attention to differences of places which emerge to different qualities of them. A place can be felt through senses, and the comprehensive senses form the felt qualities of the place. Secondly, when dealing with the relationship between human and the nature, power is often added onto the nature, which distorts the origin form of natural things. To feel the harmony of nature and human can upgrade human morals. Thirdly, imagination is an ability of getting experiences of the world, from which cultures come out. Human may be trapped when running after a better material and/or mental life. At the end of this article, the author states that a humanistic geographer must have a vast command of the facts meanwhile must be skilled and sensitive to the complexities and subtleties of the nature.

Key words: culture, human and nature, humanistic geography, place

CLC Number: 

  • K901