Nietzsche’s Challenge to Physical Geography

  • Andrew C. Comrie Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona
Keywords: action, mystique, science, society, power, environmental science, Nietzsche


Using the philosophy of Nietzsche as a stimulus, I aim to engage physical geographers and fellow scientists to reconsider their roles as scientists and to make their work more action-oriented and powerful. I outline the false mystique of science and the misconception of seeing science as independent of people and society. I make a case that science gains its power by the way we attach meaning to it and its findings, and that we should act on our ability to bestow that power. Through Nietzsche, I argue that we are challenged to overcome our trained tendency toward detached environmental science and instead put in place a new physical geography that includes meaning and action. We have the opportunity to do so in practical ways, by being reflexive and acknowledging the context of our science, and by finding more ways to communicate our ideas in support of action to change our world.
How to Cite
Comrie, A. (1). Nietzsche’s Challenge to Physical Geography. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 9(1), 34-46. Retrieved from