Do the humanities need to be defended from hard science?

Written on November 10, 2011 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

By William Egginton

They might, if Alex Rosenberg is right when he claims that “neuroscience is trespassing into domains previously the sole preserve of the interpretive disciplines,” and that “neuroscience’s explanations and the traditional ones compete; they cannot both be right.”

While neuroscience may well have very interesting things to say about how brains go about making decisions and producing different interpretations, though, it does not follow that the knowledge thus produced replaces humanistic knowledge. In fact, the only way we can understand this debate is by using humanist methodology — from reading historical and literary texts to interpreting them to using them in the form of an argument — to support a very different notion of knowledge than the one Professor Rosenberg presents.

Continue reading in The New York Times


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