Defending the Humanities


There’s a thought-provoking post over at Acculturated that asks the question: Do the Humanities Deserve Defending? (H/T, Sarah Hoyt)

Apologists for the study of philosophy, history, literature and art usually claim that the humanities train us to be: creative, logical and nimble thinkers (this is the pragmatic, skill-set thesis). The humanities do this, in part, by imparting the kind of knowledge about culture that makes us more empathetic and, thus, ethically minded global citizens (the altruistic, good human being thesis).

These arguments rely on unsound reasoning and are unsubstantiated by any acknowledgement of contradictory examples. In other words, they fail to employ the very same wisdom that literature, philosophy and history supposedly provide when they teach us rhetoric, logic and our pasts.

Read the whole thing. If you do, you’ll see my comment: “Yes. We should defend the humanities—from the humanists!”

10 thoughts on “Defending the Humanities

  1. What’s really weird to me is how the humanities pretend to be like classical education but exclude math (geometry) and astronomy from their ranks because they’re sciences.
    But the well rounded thinker needs all of these pieces. Otherwise you get a bunch of “[X] Studies” majors 😛

  2. In the old days I would have said YES, everyone should have some exposure to the Humanities (history, art, music…). I had to take the minimum, even though my Major was Engineering.

    But these days, I would say, HELL NO, because the Humanity courses have transcended in Liberal brainwashing, and they are not teaching real History, just PC crap, you can’t take an Art class without hearing “racism” “misogynism” ect ect.

    • I can almost imagine engineering departments funding classical history and literature professors. You can always find engineers in humanities courses — and never find a non-major in even a basic engineering course.

      • That’s partially because the math prerequisites for even the basic engineering courses are more advanced than math requirements for liberal arts students not majoring in math or a hard science.

      • Hell no you won’t find non-Engineering students in Engineering Math classes, they would rather spend their time and money on learning how they are oppressed and transgender dance moves.

  3. A while back I had an idea about a uni education. Instead of having a “liberal arts” degree, why not a “liberal science” degree? In four years you can get through enough math, physics, chemistry, biology and some engineering or comp sci to be a solid contender in life,

    certainly more of a contender than someone with a degree in Lesbian Tribal Dance.

  4. Besides Science and Math, History was one of my favorite subjects (straight A student in any History class).

    But there is no way I would take History now, they have diluted it, PCed it up, and made everything the White European’s fault.

    History should be about the facts and underlying causes, good or bad.

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