For at least a decade there has been a marked increase in the interests of philosophers and geographers in each others' work. Philosophers appreciate the synthetic approach of geographers, and find their philosophy improved by the concrete, grounded examples of geographic work. Geographers are, for their part, eager to move beyond description and explanation of the earth as the home of humankind and undertake evaluation. They are, however, aware of the need to ground these evaluations in something more formal and defensible than personal conviction. While there has not yet been much formal discussion directly between the two disciplines, there has been some interesting work at the border of these two fields. It is very common now to hear members of both fields discussing issues concerning the status of spatiality, lived space and theoretical considerations on landscape. Some figures in both disciplines have become standard reading in any serious work in cultural geography or environmental philosophy.
Last year the SPG was formed as a new professional organization dedicated to bringing together in a more systematic fashion discussions between these two areas. The response to this effort has been astounding. In our first year the Society has grown to almost two hundred members in North America and Europe, drawing interest from scholars in sociology, anthropology, political science, public policy, urban and regional planning, architecture, English and comparative literature, and other disciplines in addition to the two core groups. The Society scheduled ten paper sessions in 1995 which met in conjunction with all three divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association, the Association of American Geographers national meeting, and the Canadian Learned Societies meetings. Even more sessions are already planned for next year. It is now clear that such a structured union between the two fields will enrich ongoing work in social and political philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, iconography of landscape, social construction of nature, and the exploration of cultural geographies, as well as help stimulate new work in other areas.
In the Spring of 1995 Rowman and Littlefield publishers accepted our proposal to start a new annual publication, Philosophy and Geography, to serve as a peer reviewed conduit for the dissemination of new ideas generated by this organization. Volumes will be published once a year on a specific theme drawn from the majority of SPG functions throughout the academic year. Approximately fifteen papers will be chosen for each issue. Submission of manuscripts to the annual is open to anyone, regardless of their membership in the SPG, or their participation in its activities.
Joining the Society is inexpensive and includes three issues of our regular newsletter. To join send $5.00 US (or $3.00 for low income members) to:
Jonathan M. Smith
Department of Geography
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3147
Any questions concerning the Society can be directed to members of the coordinating board: