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AbysmalA Critique of Cartographic Reason$
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Gunnar Olsson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226629308

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226629322.001.0001

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University of Chicago Press

This book examines what it means to be human by means of an atlas and initiates a critique of cartographical reason. It begins with the calibration of the surveying instruments and with the establishment of the fix-points and base-lines that are used in the mappings of what it means to be human. While the findings from this tool-oriented phase of the investigation make up the first half of the book, the actual maps are presented in the second half. The book tells a different history of cartography, a journey which begins with a reading of Enuma elish and ends with an interpretation of the Ebstorfer Karte, arguably the most outstanding example of a Mappa Mundi Medievalis. It also examines the semiotics of the sign, the theory of proper names and definite descriptions, and the rhetorical strategies of geometry and presents a reconstruction of Filippo Brunelleschi's perspective and a mapping of Plato's Republic.

Keywords:   maps, cartographical reason, surveying instruments, cartography, sign, geometry, Filippo Brunelleschi, Plato, Republic, proper names

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