Mapping the illusion of reality

Science, philosophy and cartography

In his new book, When Maps Become the World, University of California, Santa Cruz philosopher and humanist Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther shows how the scientific theories, models and concepts we use to intervene in the world function as maps. We increasingly understand the world around us in terms of models, to the extent that we often take the models for reality. Winther explains how our representations in science become dominant social narratives—they become reality, and they can remake the world.

This extract is taken from Chapter 9: Map Thinking Science and Philosophy


How do we understand the reality of the objects and processes postulated by science? Did Galen’s four humors exist in some sense, despite the fact they were disproven? Were atoms or electrons or genes ever not real? Do social classes or the unconscious exist, and in what sense? What role do r

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