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Different analysts have come up with different argument regarding whether geography is actually an art or a science. It has been established to incorporate both aspects in its study. Geography has been known to involve the study of the earth. It is purely theoretical since most of its facts are based on assumption which the researchers keep changing due to varying findings. It incorporates the study of the mysterious features of their earth and attempts to explain their existence such as land and water and why they are separated. Features of the land as well and its inhabitants and why people/animals settle and adapt to various environments. Modern/recent geographical study incorporates the analysis of the complex features of planet earth and its distinction with other planets. The study of geography can be classified into physical, regional and geomantic which are art, human and environmental which bring out the science in geography. This paper will however focus on exploring the facts of Geography that make it a science. This is not limited to biological science but also includes disciplines such as political science and its relationship to Geography. Nonetheless, the most significant attribute that makes Geography a science is the human study of geography. It describes and shapes the interaction of man and various environments that they may be exposed to. The political, cultural, economic and social factors are characterized.

The Place of Geography among Other Sciences

According to Taylor, (1990), “eight of the main divisions in the geographical field are included in the large circle, while outside the circle, other eight major sciences with which these divisions are closely allied.” This shows that the divisions of study in geography are greatly based on scientific concepts. Similarly, the sciences allied to geography draw their context of study from the geographical content. These two are inseparable since as discussed in the introduction, science seeks to explain some of the theoretical facts of geography. For instance, the interaction between the environment and the earth. Geography describes the earth and all its surroundings. It also gives detailed analysis of the components of the earth and their effects to humans should some events occur. These events such as earthquakes are purely scientific. They likelihood to occur is based on the explanation of the world and its contents by science. This is a clear description of the relationship between Geography and science. Taylor, (1990) further describes Geography as, “… concerned with the description, localization, and explanation of the facts relating man to his material environment.” This like many other descriptions of the discipline is not pressed too far. However, it gives and undoubted connection of the subject to science as is the basis of the essay. The various arguments that have qualified the reference of the discipline as a science include:


The definition of a concept or a particular discipline goes a long way as far as description of its nature or role is concerned. For instance, the definition of geography gives a clear description of the discipline as a science. Though no definition is deemed to be perfectly correct, many scholars have resorted to defining it as a discipline dealing with environment and humans and their relationship to the earth. It is also agreeable that some of the theoretical aspects such as the components of planet earth which include the core and the crust have a scientific assumption which they are based on. There is also a belief of science being what people who call themselves scientists actually do. Scientists create assumptions or anticipated results regarding a certain matter, they then research, maintain the findings proven and eliminate those proven not to be true.

In Geography, geographers’ research, they also create assumptions of the outcome they expect based on their study. Upon finding of the actual facts, they draw a conclusion based on the most convincing facts. With this description, it would be justifiable to comment and state that geographers are scientists since they do what they describe as what they should be doing as earlier described. However, it is worth noting that elements of geography are science, but elements of science are not geographical. They only support the development of the discipline in making practical the findings.

Geography’s Varying Nature

When looking at the common component of both geography and science, the earth and humans/animals are identified. In actual sense, these are the main components of science as well. There is no one specific method that designs the process of research (Hartshorne, 1958). This applies to both science and geography, thus another similarity. The world is believed to be changing with time so as the living things existing in it. Its existence in today world largely differs with the nature years ago however little. Though the spa issues might be discussed and analyzed, the changes are different with differing degrees. It has been experimentally proven that the similarity in varying nature goes further to proving the relationship between geography and science, thus its classification as a science.

Environmental Issues

The world has discussed the effects of formation of the ozone layer for over 100 years all over the nations. The issue has been popularized in awareness campaigns with education offered over its cause and results to global warming. Today, the effects are felt slightly and are believed to increase with time unless caution is taken. In relation to the subject matter, global warming is a geographical topic of discussion since it involves the effects of unwanted material over the air and overheating to melt mountain ice and drain the water to the rivers. The causes are however scientific in the inclusion of components such as smoke in the air, deforestation which eliminates the material that would purify the harmful component. The solution which involves constructing of Green houses is also a scientific procedure. This is a clear indication of the interrelation of the two disciplines, thus qualifying geography as a science. It further shows that most of the problems caused to the earth’s centre are due to biological negligence. On the other hand, the solutions lie with the same unit, biology. It is also clear that the joining of the two aspects during study and research goes a long way towards establishing hat geography is fully a science rather that a science and art.

Research Carried Out Using Scientific Methods

Williams, (2008) argued that, “So many years’ geographers followed scientific methods, in order to shape geography into an academic subject and recognized fully as a science. But has this been achieved?” this brings to light the group of researchers who feel that the contents in geography should be given fu; recognition as a scientific unit and totally scrapped off of the art perspective. The opposite is also true y those researching on its basis as an art. However as (Williams, 2008) argues, the research of the geographical material with the use of scientific methods qualifies it to be a science. The knowledge was evidently gained following the observation and deduction of laws governing changes and conditions and the test of these conditions experimentally. There have been academic journals, books report written in regard to the nature of Geography. Most of the research they entailed was based on scientific findings. Though not scientific in the perspective of disciplines such as chemistry, biology and physics, it incorporated simple facts of all the units mentioned.

Link to biology

Geography has been compared and linked to biology for many years. Considering that Biology is a science, this gives it a scientific nature due to the evident connection. For most physical geographers, there is need to collect quantified earthly elements such as soil that will give the actual result when tested to reveal the likely changes of the earth. For instance, the collection of soil may be tested for various changes and elements. The method used to test these components is purely biological. Just like the tests fro elements such as manure and humus is carried out in the study of biology, the same is applied in geography which relate the changes to occurrences of the earth. It was earlier discussed that the discipline relates to science in that it provides a detailed analysis on the effects of the environment to the geographical components such as soil and further, to humans. The test of these data is undoubtedly a biological procedure, thus providing an inevitable link of the unit to science. Williams, (2008) suggests that, “This on it sown suggests that geography is a science and this fulfills a detailed observation and testing deductions by experiment.” It also shows that geography incorporates human elements which traditionally use qualitative data. Since a human element is not numerical, many people would also interpret it to be scientific. Most areas of interest in its link such as the quantitative nature of collection also prove it as a science.

Geography and Computational Science

Armstrong, (2000) stated that, “The common thread that ties together such seemingly disparate activities is a shared focus on the application of advanced computing to problems that heretofore were either intractable, or in some cases unimagined.” This should give view of the inability of geography to become practical without the support of scientific strategies and arguments. Also, geography plays a significant role in terms of the opportunities it has that lie at the intersection of computational science and geographical modeling. The application of scientific technology in geography to prove desired/predicted results is also a way to show the connection between the two and further description of geography as a science. Geographers have specified test models for many decades now where computational science has made it available to pursue research and teaching initiatives. The science has made significant contributions towards this achievement. This proves that most of the geographical hitches can only be solved sufficiently by scientific procedures and experiments. As (Armstrong, 2000) implies, there have been numerous hitches where other methods have been used to find permanent solutions. Though they have worked occasionally, it has been for limited periods before they recur. Computational science that applies technology has enabled the establishment of what id believed to have bee a permanent solution. Though scholars are quite optimistic, time will prove the effectiveness of the procedure, thus scientific role. This has also proven that the relationship between geography and science makes geography a science.


Though the research that proves this has received numerous criticisms, it is evident that geography is a science. Some scholars and researchers have gone as far as demanding the scrapping of the unit as an art. They base this n the fact that the discipline cannot be practical especially in research with the absence of scientific contribution. The paper has also established the relationship between the two and the role each plays in building the other. It is therefore undisputed that geography is more of a science than an art. Though researchers are finding enough evidence to prove that it is not an art, its contribution from science gives it more weight as a science than art.


Armsrong, M. (2000). Geography and Computaional Science. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 90(1). pp 146-156.

Hartshorne, R. (1958). The Concept of Geography as a Science of Space, From Kant and Humboldt to Hettner. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 48(2). pp 97-108.

Taylor, G. (1990). Geography the Correlative Science. The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 1(4). pp. 535-550.

Williams, B. (2008). Is Geography a Science? Philosophy of Science. Retrieved from

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