Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

The Correlations in Intellectual Activity between the Arts and Sciences: Creativity, Construction and Communication

Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

The Correlations in Intellectual Activity between the Arts and Sciences: Creativity, Construction and Communication

Article excerpt

The schism between the arts and the sciences as detailed by C. P. Snow in his 1959 Rede Lecture is based on a perception brought about by the divergence in the intra-practitioner communications methods used by the two categories of intellectual activity, and not on any real differences. This will be shown by first dividing human activities into three general categories of specialization, showing that the arts and sciences fall into the same broad category of specialization, and finally, outlining how the different sub- specializations within their common specialization remain fluid and interconnected.

The advantage human beings have over other species is not based on their physical nature, but rather their intellectual abilities. Humans can apply their intellect to solve the problems they face, and to grant them a survival (and ultimately a proliferation) advantage. Other species must themselves adapt to survive in and exploit the environmental niche in which they exist. By contrast, mankind has the ability to use his intellect to adapt his environment to meet his needs and physical limitations. These needs can be divided into three fundamental categories: Security, Provisions and Shelter, and Intellectual Pursuits.

There is a need to be secure in person and property. This need is evident in many documents setting up or organizing societies or nations, such as the British "Magna Carta", the French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" and the US "Constitution." While one is certainly at risk without security, it is equally certain that one cannot survive without a source of nourishment. Human populations do not proliferate in a barren wasteland, but they will in a "fertile crescent." Finally, human beings exhibit a sense of self that distinguishes us from the other animals that inhabit the earth. It is this sense of self that leads to the third fundamental human need, a collection of intellectual activities that attempt to make sense of and ultimately understand the reality which we feel a part of and yet a separation from.

Our earliest views back in the anthropological record show human actions to meet all three of these needs.

We find evidence of the manufacture of implements of hunting (1), many of which can be used as weapons (2). We also find evidence of ritualistic burials, often with artifacts used during life(3), as well as anthropomorphic figures and cave paintings with depictions of man and animals(4).

Global Specializations

As a reaction to these fundamental human needs each individual person develops some internal or external accommodations for safety, a means to obtain nourishment and some kind of intellectual life.

Human beings, however, are social creatures, and naturally form social networks (5,6). The most fundamental of these networks is the extended family, group or clan. Even at this low level of organization one sees the emergence of a Patriarch or Matriarch; hunters of protein and gatherers of carbohydrates; and teachers, healers and family historians or story tellers (7). Individuals began to specialize based on talent, knowledge and skill within these basic social structures. This specialization can be viewed as falling into three broad groupings. The first of these global specializations, based on the accommodations for safety, can be called security. The second global specialization, based on the acquisition of the necessities (and niceties) of life, can be called production. Finally, the third global specialty, based on the human need for some kind of intellectual life is herein called the arts and resembles most closely the modern concept of the Liberal Arts, including the humanities, mathematics and the sciences (applied, natural and social).

It is probable, however, that at this primitive level of organization, and particularly with the limited number of persons available for these specializations, individuals continued to carry out all specializations throughout life. …

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