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.
In the endeavor to distinguish science from the humanities, a key consideration seems to be the physical world. Within the realm of science, an understanding of the physical world can be gained largely through a “language of mathematics.” The humanities functions as a product of language as well, but Galileo’s science applied formulas and mathematical thinking to the physical world in such a way that “ignored the qualities” of the subjects in question. In my view, this is in direct opposition with the goal of the humanities. Science attempts to find logic, uniformity, and constant behaviors to derive formulas and theories to explain the natural world. Humanities, on the other hand, focuses less on the passive ways we are impacted by nature, and instead on the unique experiences we gather and the modes of action we may take to live in this physical world. As we are born on this Earth with little explanation, science is used to describe the physical world, our environment and our own being, through mathematical concepts. Principe finds that this application of concepts can sometimes lead to reduction. One may lose sight of the beauty in the world when all focus is put towards understanding. Humanities is a reaction to the order found in science. It is distinguished by the chaos of human life, and the beauty in the possibilities for expression of qualitative ideas.
In the Principe reading, he discusses a “humanist hunger” on page 9. Why is there such a fervent desire among thinkers in both the natural sciences and the humanities, one that has spanned centuries, to uncover knowledge and revolutionize the current mindset?