Just to stir the discussion a bit more...
Thematic maps - what are they really? If you think about it in a bit more general terms you can include every single map in this category... Ok, ok with some types that evolved into their very special forms, ie. topographic maps, etc. But they are still thematic maps, even though we don't really like calling them that way.
And now, for me a good map is a map that serves it's purpose, no matter what the subject is or the tools employed to create it. So as long as you do the job right it's just fine
And just one more thing. When creating a map, a cartographer creates a very generalized model of the real world (whatever the real world is...). So it looks like there is no escape from the subtractive approach. Not that i don't see the difference between understanding the data and using them with all the cartographic skills and just using a subset of the gis data without even thinking about the influence it might have on the map. But here I am again - no matter what the tools are as long as the final map / product (oh boy, I don't like that word...) is good-->better-->perf***