"The approach is descriptive, aiming more often to suggest than to conclude."
I think I've written before about "muscular" scholars. It seems to me that Tuan is familiar with the phenomenon of scholars bashing you so hard over the head with their ideas that you can't properly argue with them (when they have merit), and that he's chosen to not go there. I think his ideas are strong enough that you could bludgeon someone with them, but he's chosen the higher road of writing more simply and subtly and just letting the reader conclude for herself that he's right.
"The ideas 'space' and 'place' require each other for definition. From the security and stability of place we are aware of the openness, freedom, and threat of space, and vice versa." (p.6)
- a longtime resident of a city knows the city
- a cab driver learns to find his way in the city
- a geographer studies the city and knows it conceptually
Some odds and ends from the text so far:
Tuan suggests that emotional range corresponds directly to potential intellectual capacity:
"The emotional repertoire of a clam is very restricted compared with that of a puppy; and the affective life of the chimpanzee seems almost as varied and intense as that of a human being. A human infant is distinguished from other mammalian young both by his helplessness and by his fearsome tantrums. The infant's emotional range, from smile to tantrum, hints at his potential intellectual reach." (pp.9-10)
He mentions a theory of Susanne Langer's (to-do: Susanne Langer's Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling.), that odors of decay act as memento mori for adult human beings.
He describes place as a physical object, albeit one that can't be picked up and carried around (p. 12) and neighborhoods as geometric shapes, claiming that it takes time to learn a neighborhood, just as it takes time to learn a geometric shape (pp. 17-18), as in the case of Cheselden's newly-sighted man.
More to come later.