Science and the Humanities

Science and the Humanities

Science and the Humanities

Science and the Humanities

Excerpt

I have called the five essays which make up this volume Science and the Humanities in a deliberate effort to avoid implications of novelty. Often, the things which arouse our interest and occupy our thoughts do so not because they are new in essence but because they are immediately relevant, and they do not lose their hold on us, even though they may become tiresome, until they are resolved by common consent. The humanities and science in our time present an issue of this sort. The problem of the distinction between these two forms of knowledge and understanding and their relationship to one another is of long standing, but it is now again at the center of a vigorous discussion. Old issues, however, have a way of taking on new meanings with changes in the setting. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the humanities assumed at times an aggressive critical role, and science found it necessary to reply in defense; today, it is the other way around, with science sure of its position and critical, and the humanities defensive and in rebut-

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