How We Investigate and Perceive the Earth — A History of the Study of the Surface and Internal Structure of Our Planet








地球がどんなものとして認識されるかは、どこかで生活世界にもつながっているはずだ。地球認識は人の生活環境の作り方やその作法に関わっている。 特に生環境構築史としては、地球のテクトニクスと人間による生環境構築との関係を認識しなおすことが、来たるべき構築様式=構築様式4の姿を、世界規模かつ土地に即して見定めていくうえでの重要な関心事である。


In this special issue, we take a close look at how humans have come to understand the Earth.

The study of the Earth in the modern sense — known as geoscience — is said to have started with the measurement of the shape and size of the Earth in ancient Greece. Since that time, how have humans strived to understand the nature of the planet on which they live? And what was the original motivation and driving force behind those efforts?

With these simple questions as a starting point, we examine the history of the fields of science that have focused on the Earth, especially geology. Astronomy originated in ancient Greece and spread to Europe via the Arab world until the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. Geography was established in the early 17th century, growing out of its predecessor natural history, which developed during the Age of Discovery. And geology branched off from geography during the industrial revolution. We explore how our image of the Earth has been shaped by the intellectual background, social demands, observation and measurement technologies, and developments in physics that these scientific disciplines have given birth to.

Astronomy deals with the Earth's relationship with extraterrestrial space (outer space); geography deals with the natural and human aspects of the earth's surface; and geology deals with the earth's interior. In other words, these disciplines have emerged and been developed to explore the Earth as a celestial body, a surface world, and an underground world.

It should also be noted that academic motives and social and economic motives have worked together to expand the methods and scope of our understanding of the Earth. This makes it necessary to understand the historical relationship between modern science and industrial/capitalist economies. The establishment of the field of geology had a major, practical purpose: resource exploration during the Industrial Revolution. In view of this, we place particular importance on the production and science of steel, which has shaped the modern world both materially and socially.

Since the establishment of each academic field, specialized fields have branched out and subdivided, but we live on one, single Earth. The aim of this special issue is to capture the formation process and dynamic mechanisms of the Earth itself, as well as the progress that academic studies have made in understanding our constantly-changing planet, in a multi-disciplinary and integrated manner.

The way we perceive the Earth is connected to our everyday lives, to the living environment we create and our sense of propriety. In particular, in terms of the history of human living environments, it is important to re-confirm the relationship between the earth's tectonics and the construction of human living environments in order to determine optimal future construction styles on a global scale that are suitable for the land. This is a critical concern as we move forward.

Guided by the above objectives, we are pleased to publish this special issue on "How We Investigate and Perceive the Earth."

(7th Issue editors: Noriko Matsuda, Takashi Ito, Naohiko Hino)

[2023.11.10 UPDATE]

協賛/SUPPORT サントリー文化財団(2020年度)、一般財団法人窓研究所 WINDOW RESEARCH INSTITUTE(2019〜2021年度)、公益財団法人ユニオン造形財団(2022年度〜)