David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
A striking difference between those fields we classify as humanities and those we regard as sciences is the attitude within each field toward its history. Learning about literature, music, or the visual arts requires becoming knowledgeable about a significant amount of the history of those areas. And education in these fields, at whatever level, invariably involves some study of great accomplishments in the past. By contrast, scientific work and standard scientific textbooks make little reference to the history of the science in question, and such reference is typically relegated to the appreciative mention in passing of important empirical discoveries or theoretical innovations. And professional training in the sciences, both graduate and undergraduate, involves no serious examination of the achievements or methodology of past scientific work, no matter how impressive and influential those achievements may have been. Progress dominates thinking in the sciences, and that emphasis may seem to explain such casual and occasionally condescending reference to the history of the sciences. But progress occurs in the humanities as well; even if some of the greatest artistic accomplishments are well in the past, there is remarkable innovation in style, technique, and methodology in the various arts. Some of the most monumental accomplishments in the sciences, moreover, are historical; nobody is likely to surpass the quality and importance of Newton's achievements, and few will ever equal those of Einstein. So it is unlikely that attitudes towards progress or past accomplishments can explain the divergent attitudes that fields in the sciences and humanities exhibit towards their own history. We can better understand this contrast by appeal to a characteristic feature of the arts. Nobody today writes in the manner of Milton, Racine, or Shakespeare, or composes in the manner of Bach or Beethoven, or paints in the style of Vermeer, Renoir, or Da Vinci. Even Picasso's early, somewhat ostentatious paintings in the styles of various past masters were more to show his prodigious abilities than they were original artistic endeavors..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Abigail J. Stewart (ed.) (2001). Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Westview Press.
Ben Jeffares (2008). Testing Times: Confirmation in the Historical Sciences. Dissertation, Australian National University
Martin Gustafsson (2011). Seeing the Facts and Saying What You Like: Retroactive Redescription and Indeterminacy in the Past. Journal of the Philosophy of History 4 (3-4):296-327.
Paul M. Quay (1974). Progress as a Demarcation Criterion for the Sciences. Philosophy of Science 41 (2):154-170.
David Lowenthal (1985). The Past is a Foreign Country. Cambridge University Press.
Lorenz Krüger, Thomas Sturm, Wolfgang Carl & Lorraine Daston (eds.) (2005). Why Does History Matter to Philosophy and the Sciences? Walter DeGruyter.
Kaya Yilmaz (2010). Postmodernism and its Challenge to the Discipline of History: Implications for History Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (7):779-795.
Diarmid A. Finnegan (2008). The Spatial Turn: Geographical Approaches in the History of Science. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 41 (2):369 - 388.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads9 ( #159,507 of 1,102,740 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #182,643 of 1,102,740 )
How can I increase my downloads?