Cultural differences in the perception and representation of space

June 12, 2010

Professor Holenstein just gave an interesting seminar at USI on the cultural differences in the representation of space. He is one of the world major expert on the topic. He is the author of the Atlas of Philosophy (2004).

I found interesting to hear his philosophical perspective on a topic I am particularly interested in, which is typically addressed from a mere cognitive point of view. He showed how Japanese people depict their country, with the main axes  east-west. while we typically think of Japan as a land that is mainly distributed vertically (north-south) like Italy.

He also reflected on how geographical maps cannot be objective depictions of reality but a product of what the cartographer wants to emphasize. Therefore I suppose they can as well be considered knowledge visualization, with a close mapping to the original distribution of information.
The traditional world map is a product of conventions, indeed many types of world maps exists with different orientations, upside down or east-west, like this Japanese map of 1671:

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Mapping the difference between science and faith

January 16, 2010

This is an interesting application of the flowchart to try to explain deep philosophical issues.

It’s thought provoking, indeed it has received a number of divergent comments on other blogs. It is quite arguably an oversemplification of reality, however it serves the purpose of conveying instantly the difference between the two domains.

A version 2.0 was developed to improve the science diagram. This interesting re-appropriation process shows the potential of web 2.0 for visualization, that can be shared online, receive feedback and improved collectively.

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