Unit 6 Post 2 by Kennedy M. Petties

“I felt was moving among two groups—comparable in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate at all, who in intellectual, moral and psychological climate had so little in common that instead of going from Burlington House or South Kensington to Chelsea, one might have crossed an ocean.” (Snow, 2)

! – Even today, we experience this divide of two cultures. Often students are either “a STEM person” or not. There aren’t tons of explicit majors or career paths that allow you to meld these both together, at least not in a direct way. The further you get into your major or the work you’re doing, the less you interact with the other culture. You have completely different professors, buildings you work in, and eventually, there’s even different places to live where your career will have more or less success.

“It is also, to be brutal, that the young scientists know that with an indifferent degree they’ll get a comfortable job, while their contemporaries and counterparts in English or History will be lucky to earn 60 percent as much. No young scientist of any talent would feel that he isn’t wanted or that his work is ridiculous, as did the hero of Lucky Jim, and in fact, some of the disgruntlement of Amis and his associates is the disgruntlement of the under-employed arts graduate.” (Snow, 18)

? – Why do we have so much more monetary and social respect for people who do scientific work? And how does this drive more people to go into fields that have no true passion for? If only a select few are willing to take the risk to create art or study history, how are we going to live the full human experience? A world without art – movies, galleries, photography, museums, music – does not appear to be one that would stimulate fulfillment in a significant portion of the human population.

Which of the Top 10 Scientific Theories and Experiments did you recognize?

Theories: Oxygen Theory of Combustion, Plate Tectonics, Evolution by Natural Selection, Heliocentrism

Experiments: Eratosthenes Measures the World, Gregor Mendel Cultivates Genetics, Marie Curie’s Work Matters, Ivan Pavlov Salivates at the Idea, Robert Paine Stressed Starfish

Unit 6 Post 1 by Kennedy M. Petties

! – Black Girl Linguistic Play emphasizes the complexity of relationships in African American culture, especially amongst women and family. In the lack of what we would popularly consider music (melody accompanied by lyrics), they create rhythms of their own – almost in the same way that black women tend to fill the gaps in the needs of others.

? – Is what Camille wanted to convey as important as what was received?

Unit 5 Post 1 by Kennedy M. Petties

Nicholas Birns – Ritualizing the Past: Ralph Lemon’s Counter-Memorials

Quotation: The civil rights era is one made prematurely past, prematurely allowed, by the killing of so many of its leaders. In 2005, Emmett Till would be in his mid-60s, Martin Luther King, Jr. in his mid-70s, Medgar Evers 80, Malcolm X the same age. Nelson Mandela, whom we still look to for moral leadership, is older than any of them.

! – I didn’t realize that if it weren’t for the forced ending of the Civil Rights Movement by the assassination of its leaders and figureheads, the movement probably would have lasted much longer. It would have been a much longer time before we considered that a far off history and those people would still be around to give the first-hand perspective from that time.

Quotation: These occurrences of inhumanity cannot easily be chronicled in conventional narrative leading to cathartic reparation. Artists have long struggled with the challenge of bringing history into their works, without that history being undigested or monumental. Lemon’s work is a model for how art can register the burden of history without claiming a bogus historical self-importance. His work makes clear that any reckoning with the past must be both traumatic and incomplete.

? – How do we analyze/depict history without making it appear monumental or leaving its importance indigested? Does one event have the same historical value as another?

Rebecca Schneider – Performance Remains

Quotation: The archive is habitual to western culture. We understand ourselves relative to the remains we accumulate, the tracks we house, mark, and cite, the material traces we acknowledge…history has been composed of documents because ‘the document is what remains’

! – I hadn’t previously considered archiving a Western Cultural practice. I do now see it through the way we preserve and catalog history. We take note of the remains of history – records, papers written, movies made, etc.

Quotation: And yet if theater refuses to remain, it is precisely in the repeatedly live theater or installation space that a host of recent artists explore history – the recomposition of remains.

? – Does performance have the same value and impact if it can be preserved? Does the attentiveness required for performance when you know it will disappear add to the experience?

Unit 4 Post 4 by Kennedy M. Petties

I chose pages 106 and 107. They depict the jail scene where the freedom riders and other inmates are being threatened by the wardens and told to stop singing. The darkness of the page and the way the words from the song cascade across different panels along with the very clear thick black borders creates a sense of hope in the darkness. In a story filled with large amounts of fear and hostility, it reinstates a sense of life. It gives these people back their humanity. The inmates, in fact, come to the realization that they have nothing left to lose other than themselves. Amongst the laughter, someone even says “What are you gonna do? Put us in jail?!”

The textboxes all have different textures. Words from the wardens have jagged edges and a lot of emphases. They directly interfere with the lyrics or words of others. The artist doesn’t give too much detail to the characters but shows the song lyrics as coming from all of them. It establishes a feeling of unity. They all become one in this instance, fighting the same fight. In the drawings of the wardens, they’re almost seething while the inmates appear calm, almost jovial.

All of this helps to depict a more accurate understanding of the event. Even though these are people going through traumatic events and fighting for their rights, they are still people. They laugh and joke and experience the same things we as people experience today.

This resonated with me a lot because often when we hear stories about the Civil Rights Ear and those involved we don’t get to hear about the individuals and what they were going through. We don’t hear about their families or their feelings apart from what they contributed to the movement. It is told as a very streamlined narrative. Things were bad. People were in pain. They fought through that pain. They overcame it. It is a lot more complex than that and this particular couple of pages demonstrated that.

I would not say any of this necessarily moved me to a point of conviction though. It felt like a very pretty set of pictures to discuss a very rough and traumatic topic – one that I’ve learned about many many times.

Unit 4 Post 1 by Kennedy M. Petties

They both share the roots of being part of a direct post-slavery generation. They were living in the post-civil war reconstructionist south. This was a dangerous and tumultuous time for black people. The lynchings of black men and the blatant disrespect of black women fueled both of them. Living in a segregated community took a toll on them both, though their parents still encouraged them to obtain educations. After both having close friends lynched, their attention was turned to the African American plight and the physical toll racism was taking. Beyond racial lines, they both understood the intersectionality of being black women. They hit upon the duality of fighting against more than one system at a time every day – sexism and racism. “to the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmount…both sex and race.” – Terrell

Terrell was Methodist Episcopalian. Terrell talks more about the advantages white women have and their ability to ruin/end the lives of black men through unfounded claims. Her main focus was on the lynchings of black men based on the frivolous claims of white women. They possessed all the power in these dynamics, stripping men of their rights to fair trials and inflicting fear upon black men as a whole, and pain upon their families. This was prompted by the lynching of her close friend Thomas Moss. Terrell’s proposed solution was to promote racial uplift through education and community activism. She coined the phrase “Lift As We Climb”. She believed that if we could lift up the black race, especially black women, the associated respect and social equality would stem from it. All her efforts were aimed at ending the violence associated with segregation and historical racism.

Wells was Catholic. Wells focused on racial violence, specifically white mob violence and lynchings. She made a point of calling out white women who supported the suffrage movement but chose to ignore the plight of lynchings in the black sphere. Some of her intentionality in confronting white mob violence came from the lynching of one of her close friends. She became skeptical about the reasons black men were lynched began investigating various cases. She published her findings in a pamphlet and wrote her results in several different newspapers. She faced an immense amount of backlash, even to the point of forcing her out of her own city. She proposed urban reform and the sharing of information as solutions. If more people were truly aware of the reality and the people being affected were being properly supported, things would change.

VAC Art Installation: Baik Art Residency

I attended the Baik Art Residency. The theme the artists were given was borders and they were tasked with re-interpreting the way we look at borders and presenting us with their personal interpretations of these. I’ve been sitting with this for a while as borders can mean a lot of different things for different people and it provoked me to think about what borders are to me. Beyond the usual sense of borders we think of, the physical ones between countries or entities, the artists spoke of borders that are emotional, what happens at them, and their histories. I really enjoyed being able to hear about the immense difference borders can make in our lives and also the way that often we lose ourselves when it comes to borders. For example, Yong Soon Min talked about the way that when we cross borders we give ourselves up to searches, poking and prodding, and all-around invasive procedures. We become part of the masses, simply a numbered individual. We let someone we do not know go through our personal effects all in an attempt to get from one place to another. Even though this is something that in almost any other setting, we would never let happen, we do it frequently and often without question. It interests me to see how similar borders don’t have this same level of invasive procedures. The border to get into the United States is extremely tight and assesses you on more than what they can tangibly tough. They analyze a document that is supposed to validate that you are human. They take in assumptions about you based on what country your passport says, your skin color, where you are coming from and so much more.

Unit 3, Post 3 by Kennedy M. Petties

Sontag and Gourevitch’s writings connect across several different themes and concepts. Sontag heavily discusses the appropriate ways to process, display, understand, and react to the pain of others. She speaks in a more theoretical way and cites different times throughout history to explain her points. Gourevitch is more focused on the specific instance of the Rwandan Genocide. Gourevitch recounts how instead of preventing it and honoring their commitment to prevent and punish genocides, the world didn’t react at all and/or enabled the suffering of others. This relates to Sontag’s point about how we can be unbelievably apathetic about what other people are going through. We see it as exotic and far away. We claim we are one large humanity but the pain people are going through has a diminished effect the further you are from it. Sontag also discusses how we don’t want to call pain and suffering by what it is a lot of the time because that makes it real and something we have to deal with. We would rather debate the semantics around the situation than the situation itself. Gourevitch brings up this same point in how the United States didn’t want to call the Rwandan Genocide exactly what it was – a genocide. That legally meant they had to act and respond to the horrors happening internationally. And then after finally labeling it as a genocide and using the appropriate terminology, they then chose to argue if it was ever really their place to get involved in international affairs in the first place. These two texts pair very well together. Sontag gives a more in-depth view of what is going on inside the minds of people who ignore atrocities and/or do absolutely nothing about them and Gourevitch gives you a model to examine.

Unit 3, Post 2 by Kennedy M. Petties

Chapter 1

In Chapter 1, Sontag discloses some of Woolf’s opinions on how “we” can prevent war and its inner workings. She talks about how “men make war” – war is a male killing machine, something that women do not share the same drive for or sentiments about. She also discusses how at this point no one feels that war can be abolished. This is mainly because those with the power to have a say and do something about it tend to be willfully ignorant. So over time, we have come to try and shock people into understanding through photography, cinematography, news headlines and more. Although good-willed people will have the same responses to these photos, the descriptions of them can make all the difference in how they resonate with people. Also, people are going to take the photo to align with their morals and beliefs and support the pre-existing notions they have. We fail to understand the absurdity and pain of war because we fail to imagine and empathize with the true pain and impacts inflicted on others.

In spite of how much we display and describe it, war is a male-driven machine that negates the impacts of actions through willful ignorance and a narrowed view of what the evidence of war portrays.

Chapter 6

In Chapter 6, Sontag opens up about some of the horrors of human nature that we like to shove down and not address. We often deny that we have a desire to see cruel, detestable, and gruesome things. It goes beyond curiosity. If we truly didn’t want to see painful and tragic things, we wouldn’t look in the first place. It goes beyond “curiosity”. Our sense of reason – no don’t look at that. you know its wrong and horrific – is overwhelmed by our unworthy desire – I want to see just how much pain they are in and visualize it. We do it for different reasons. Sometimes it is to steel yourself against weakness, to make yourself number, or to simply acknowledge that this kind of suffering exists in the world. Also, Sontag talks about how as long as people feel safe, they will be indifferent to the pain of others because they have the option to disengage from it. This tends to be a product of their helplessness or fear. If they don’t feel like they can do anything or fear this becoming a reality they have to experience, then they would simply rather not see it. But to justify this doing nothing, people try to sympathize with those in pain. They try to put their daily pains and agonies into that same context. And those who do feel compassion to do something, often let that feeling wither because there is no direct course of action. Sympathy is a dangerous game to play because it is bold to assume that you can understand a type of pain you have never been in. It disregards the reality that your privilege and their pain do not exist on the same playing field but definitely have a relationship with one another.

People have an unspoken desire to see visualize the pain of others, though they do not possess the long term desire to act and fix it, for it means sacrificing their comfort and livelihood for the life of someone they can only imagine.

Chapter 8

In Chapter 8, Sontag sheds light on the idea that after some point in time with the constant influx of media – and frankly reality itself – people can no longer be shocked by the pain human beings cause one another. To be willfully ignorant or institute some kind of amnesia is not something people have the right to. Not only are they disillusioned, but they are part of the greater issue that often prevents us from dealing with the atrocities of war. We need to remember the pain we see and the impacts it is having on people. We can no longer choose blissful unawareness. Although, over time collective long-term history can change the nature of remembering and make it a bit faulty and gloss over some of the details that made it so gruesome in the first place. Sontag also discusses how suffering needs to have some kind of audience to be recognized and validated. The issue arises when the audience doesn’t want to participate and watch and would rather complain about being required to watch than dealing with the actual issue of pain at hand. “If we can do something about what the images show, we might not care so much about the issue.” People will argue that nobody has the right to experience and visualize the suffering of others at a distance, but Sontag says there is nothing wrong with standing back and thinking about what you see. Whether you see it in person or captured in a photograph, you are still seeing it. Your sight can be turned on and off at will and requires you to be a bystander in both situations. Sontag finishes by saying “Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”

At some point people cannot be disillusioned and ignorant of the pain of others, nor can they simply dismiss its existence and ignore the issue by complaining about the means and ethics of its presentation.

Unit 3, Post 1 by Kennedy M. Petties

Hannah Arendt’s concept “Banality of Evil”

  • a Jew who fled from Germany during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power
  • reported on Adolf Eichmann’s trial for the New Yorker
  • “Her thesis is that Eichmann was actually not a fanatic or a sociopath, but instead an extremely average and mundane person who relied on cliché defenses rather than thinking for himself, and was motivated by professional promotion rather than ideology.”
  • published Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil in 1963
  • “Eichmann in Jerusalem.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, September 5, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_in_Jerusalem.
  • October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975
  • a photo of Hannah Arendt
  • “The essence of totalitarian government, and perhaps the nature of every bureaucracy, is to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men, and thus to dehumanize them.” (Arendt)
  • Popova, Maria. “The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt on the Normalization of Human Wickedness and Our Only Effective Antidote to It.” Brain Pickings, August 14, 2019. https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/07/hannah-arendt-the-banality-of-evil/.
  • My synthesized thoughts: Arendt’s concept of the Banality of Evil describes a similar point presented in the 1961 Milgram Experiment. Often, people can complete atrocities and see it as mundane and simply complying with authorities. This allows them to separate themselves from the pain they are causing others. They are able to rationalize their behaviors since all their decisions are essentially made for them. There is a pre-chosen path with options that only fit into the narrative decided upon by the authority present. It is effective because it makes people part of a machine and not individual thinkers.
  • “Eichmann in Jerusalem.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, September 5, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_in_Jerusalem.
  • “Milgram Experiment.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, October 14, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment.

The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • published in 1951 by Hannah Arendt; describes and analyzes Nazism and Stalinism
  • Arendt’s first major work
  • structured in three essays: “Antisemitism”, “Imperialism” and “Totalitarianism”
  • “a “novel form of government,” that “differs essentially from other forms of political oppression known to us such as despotism, tyranny and dictatorship” in that it applied terror to subjugate mass populations rather than just political adversaries.”
  • The book begins by analyzing the rise of antisemitism in Europe. It then moves on to scientific racism and its applications and purpose in colonialist imperialism. It then ends with discussing the mechanics of totalitarian governments. It focuses on transforming the cognitive schemes of the population, propaganda, and the use of terror.
  • “totalitarian regimes seek to dominate every aspect of everyone’s life as a prelude to world domination”
  • “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, September 8, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origins_of_Totalitarianism.
  • Totalitarian governments are based on mass movements and the inspiration of a certain kind of bordering on compulsive loyalty. These movements rely on the destruction of reality. It captures the minds of the neutral and politically inactive; those people who have minimal allegiances to anything are those who this targets. “The modern condition of rootlessness is a foundational experience of totalitarianism; totalitarian movements succeed when they offer rootless people what they most crave: an ideologically consistent world aiming at grand narratives that give meaning to their lives.”
  • Berkowitz, Roger. “Why Arendt Matters: Revisiting ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism.’” Los Angeles Review of Books, March 18, 2017. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/arendt-matters-revisiting-origins-totalitarianism/.

Adolf Eichmann

  • Full name: Otto Adolf Eichmann March 19, 1906-June 1, 1962
  • Execute by hanging
  • Alias: Ricardo Klement
  • Occupation: SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer (lieutenant colonel); major organizer of the Holocaust
  • captured Argentina on 11 May 1960 by the Mossad then found guilty of war crimes in a trial in Jerusalem and executed
  • Led the effort to the facilitation of logistics of the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi Europe during World War II.
  • Joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP on April 1, 1932; seven months later his membership in the SS was confirmed
  • “Adolf Eichmann.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, October 14, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann#Early_career.
  • Riacrdo Klement Mercedes Bens ID Card
  • Eichmann was present at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, where the concrete and detailed plan was laid out to conduct the genocide of the Holocaust
  • Eichmann was captured by Americans but escaped and lived for roughly five years as Otto Heninger, a small-time farmer. While hiding out he contacted Bishop Hudal’s, a Nazi-sympathizer, operation. They provided him with a new identity as “Ricardo Klement” and Argentinian papers allowing him to leave Europe in June 1950 for Buenos Aires. He became the department head of Mercedes Benz.
  • A lead was given by a half Jewish-German woman who reported she had been dating a man with the last name Eichmann who liked to talk about his father’s importance in the Nazi regime. The Israeli government then dispatched a team from their intelligence agency, Mossad, to kidnap Eichmann. Agents seized him as he got off a bus. He was then sedated and slipped aboard an airplane to stand trial in Israel.
  • Christopher, Kurt. “Angels of Death: 5 Nazi Officials Who Escaped to South America to Avoid Justice.” HistoryCollection.co, July 6, 2017. https://historycollection.co/5-nazi-war-criminals-attempted-escape-justice-south-america/.

Unit 2, Post 3 by Kennedy M. Petties

Option 1: Suppose that after finishing the reading, a student says: “Any belief, however unlikely it may appear, can be saved from refutation if you’re willing to make enough secondary elaborations.” Is the student right? Defend your answer.

I think this student is technically right but misses the concept the author is trying to convey. In certain conceptual schemes, people can explain inconsistencies in their findings or experiences with secondary elaborations. They are not intended to apply to unfounded and highly unlikely beliefs with no form of explanation. Although a sufficient number of secondary elaborations would save your argument from refutation, it would probably end up requiring tertiary elaborations to explain your secondary elaborations. There needs to be some form of grounding in your proposed argument. So actually, the student is wrong. It cannot save ANY belief from refutation, but it can save one with some form of a basis in an identifiable conceptual scheme. For example, in the conceptual scheme of astrology, secondary elaborations would save the argument that your sign determined your personality because then you can layer on your ascendant, sun, moon, and house. And if there are still inaccuracies then you can argue that the person may simply be misaligned or not fully developed into their sign yet, or numerous other things. But to argue in the conceptual model of physics that your computer is a liquid, no amount of secondary elaborations will save that from refutation. The definition of a liquid versus a solid and therefore the falsifiability of this claim, it can be refuted. One could definitely attempt to save it, but it wouldn’t truly be possible. This conceptual scheme is far too rigid.

Option 2: What’s the most effective way to reduce the amount of bullshit in contemporary discourse? 

I’m not sure there truly is a most effective way of convincing people there is still a value for the objective truth in contemporary discourse because we have ventured too far down into subjective truth. People’s experiences differ so greatly today and are molded by their understanding of the world. We all open ourselves up to bullshit. It’s comforting. It often shields you from having to deal with harsh realities. If I had to come up with the most effective way to reduce the amount of bullshit in contemporary discourse, it would require people to first have a value for the objective experiences of others. We would need to agree on a definition and data-based version of people’s existences. Definitions would have to stop changing from one community to the next and language would need to become far more rigid. Although I think this would reduce a significant amount of bullshit, it would hinder us from understanding the nuances that exist between people. People would need to have value for the truth. In contemporary discourse — politics, government, etc. — we would all need to agree on what state of reality we live in. We would all need to agree on the same versions of history, social hierarchy, the advantages and disadvantages of social identities, and more. If we could all come to terms with the same reality, then we could then start valuing the truth. To have value for this truth, it needs to be beneficial to everyone who would need to understand it. This truth needs to serve a purpose — “bettering society”, preventing discrimination in the workforce, etc. The issue arises though that the truth and the alternative truth serve separate purposes, each benefiting different groups of people in different ways. For example, acknowledging that sexism is real helps some people defend their stance in society and fight for more respect and better accommodations. But claiming that sexism is a relic of the past and no longer exists allows a group to shift the responsibility of women’s underprivileged state in society onto women and not themselves. It exonerates them of any culpability in this situation and keeps them from having to work to make a situation better. If you don’t have to acknowledge a problem, you don’t have to fix it. As much as we may try, we have adapted too much to a world full of bullshit and I’m not sure we will be coming out of it any time soon unless given an extremely intense reason to do so.

Microaggressions with Common Ground

Microaggressions with Common Ground was a really good way to hear how other students, especially upperclassmen felt about microaggressions on campus and how to deal with them. It allowed me to ask some questions about how to handle these issues but also to know that I wasn’t the only student experiencing some of these issues. Often it can feel like microaggressions are something we go through alone or only within our small pocketed communities. With the turnout at the event and the array of identities present, it was beneficial to hear how these problems affect others. It was also a healthy opportunity to connect with others and make this problem more known. The panel defined what microaggressions are, how and when they tend to experience them, the cumulative effect, their own stories, and the best means of handling them. Many of the panelists touched upon how many times, they are intended as compliments or have no intention of harming someone but the difference between intent and impact is vast. The intent is to say something nice about that specific person but slights their identity and the greater community they are a part of. Also, they spoke to how these microaggressions are rooted in stereotypes and have to be based on an identity you can’t hide – race, gender, perceived sexuality, etc. I was excited to see Davidson take on an issue like this in such an open manner and to see the student body so eager to participate too.

Unit 2 Post 2 by Kennedy M. Petties

Option 2: As language shifts and adapts to society, is it worth translating texts again to match this new language? Or does keeping the old translation have the same meaning as keeping the old original text?

Option 3: I think that translation goes past translating from one distinct language to the next. Often translation appears in the form of code-switching or understanding outdated usages of terms. And in the new age of social media and the constant shift in language and what terms mean, people are having to perform translations every day. There is especially a big disconnect between older generations and non-social media users. Translations also exist when you move from one group of people to the next. One set of words has completely different meanings depending on where you are in the country, at work versus at home, with your family versus with friends, etc. And with how interconnected the world is becoming every day how can we translate some of these words not only inside of a language but between languages. English is a language with the potential for new words to be coined and old ones to be reshaped almost instantly. Other more rigid and indigenous languages do not hold this same potential. Is it even possible to make these kinds of translations anymore? How could you build a dictionary that is so highly adaptive but also certified? New words require formal definitions and approvals and simply are not capable of moving at the same pace that language does. On the other hand, online publicly accessible dictionaries like Urban Dictionary have no certification and there is such a wide array of what terms mean.

As time goes on and language becomes more and more complex to comprehend, it also becomes very simplified. Certain words transcend languages and have the same meaning across the board. And language now can be accessed at the touch of a button. Translations are no longer something that only a niche group of people are able to perform and an even smaller group of people can afford to possess. From Google Translate to the plentiful apps that you can download to even headphones that will directly translate the language you hear into any one of your choosing, there is no reason to not be able to understand a wide array of people. So does radical translation have the same purpose today as it used to? Does the definition of translation need to be updated and well translated for a new era of language and connectivity? I think yes.

Unit 2, Post 1 by Kennedy M. Petties

Part 1:

“The technique of reducing the physical world into mathematical abstractions… played a key role in producing a new physics, and stands as a distinctive feature of the Scientific Revolution” (p. 73). Would it also be accurate to say that this is what’s distinctive of science, and in particular, what distinguishes science from the humanities? Explain.

It would be very accurate to say this is what’s distinctive of science. Science is breaking down the world into data and patterns in an attempt to understand and predict the way things work. Although, I think it’s right and wrong to say this is what distinguishes science from the humanities. The methods may be different but often the goals are the same – to understand better the world around you. The method of breaking the world into “mathematical abstractions” is what defines science. Science is “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. This same definition could be applied to humanities although it can be a bit less systematic. Often when studying humanities, you follow the flow of information wherever it may take you. With science, there is more structure and intentionality while looking for a clear objective or trying to answer/refute a question. Humanities is a more inductive process while science can be more deductive.

Part 2:

How can we relate the patterns of the Scientific Revolution to those of the American or French? What ideas make these distinctively different?