Original Research

Mapping cultural and natural landscape: metaphors in mapping human nature

Cornel W. du Toit
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 2, No 2 | a280 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v2i2.280 | © 2006 Cornel W. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2016 | Published: 11 April 2006

About the author(s)

Cornel W. du Toit, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, South Africa

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The article uses the cartographic metaphor to describe the relations between culture and nature, science and life world, signifier and signified. Modernism may be defined as a project to map the whole of human reality to ensure our comprehension and control of it. The Hobbes-Boyle controversy is cited by way of example. Today this project is under critical scrutiny, because there is more to the world than what is captured in maps. The main example of control and reduction of meaning is the way human nature is defined. Nowadays the main factor is not so much ideology of one kind or another but, increasingly, technoscience. Mapping the future of humankind will depend on successful integration of humans with nature, faith with reason, natural sciences with human sciences, physicality with spirituality. Heidegger provides an example of a meaningful way to integrate science and technology with the human life world. Finally, the self-transcending character of human culture remains the driving force behind the process.


Mapping; science; culture and human nature; modernism; cartography; metaphors; cultural geography; technoscientific identity; religion


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