|A philosophy of science which directs attention towards (and is in turn legitimated by) the establishment of technical control over the environment; because it is this end-result which matters, the truth or falsity of the theoretical statements which are called upon is never at issue (cf. positivism) and so they become literally instruments, \'computational devices for the generation of successful predictions about observables\', which are to be judged solely in terms of their practical utility (Keat and Urry, 1975). Instrumentalism was extremely important during geography\'s quantitative revolution as a means of qualifying the status of the \'laws\' of a projected spatial science while retaining the commitment to some form of scientific explanation: thus Harvey (1969) argued that the identification of laws in geography is \'partly a matter of our own willingness to regard geographical phenomena as if they were subject to universal laws, even when they are patently not so governed\' (emphasis added). The ability of geography to provide nomothetic statements in these more restricted terms was translated into empirical studies which were concerned more with the \'goodness of fit\' between one spatial pattern and another than with the explication of the processes which produced them (e.g. the surrogates employed in simulation and in space-time forecasting). Many of these models were clearly capable of generating direct inputs to the formulation of public policy, since they enabled a ready comparison of a range of policy options and their associated outcomes without the need to specify the mechanisms which linked them; but the conception of relevance which they entailed was evidently a starkly pragmatic one and it was soon vigorously contested by the emergence of other philosophies of science, such as realism (Sayer, 1992).Â (DG)
References Harvey, D. 1969: Explanation in geography. London: Edward Arnold; New York: St. Martin\'s Press.Â Keat, R. and Urry, J. 1975: Social theory as science. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Â Sayer, R.A. 1992: Method in social science: a realist approach, 2nd edn. London: Routledge.
Suggested Reading Gregory, D. 1978: Ideology, science and human geography. London: Hutchinson; New York: St. Martin\'s Press, 40-2.