Unit 2 Assignment 1 Emily McDill

“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.

I think that a critical distinction between science and the humanities is the lense through which people view the details. In science, the goal is to eliminate the complicating details, as Principe describes as, “stripping away an object’s characteristics of shape, colour, and composition.” Conversely, in the humanities, the focus is often on the subtle details of a piece, and the goal is to make connections and form complicated relationships with other bodies of work. While science often aims to pare down the information presented and force it to fit into rigid, linear models, humanities encourages one to think outside of the predetermined intellectual frameworks and encourages unconcrete complexity. Although both science and the humanities present abstract theories used to categorize information, I think scientific abstractions are more concerned with asking “how does the world work?” while theories in humanities pose the question, “why?”. 

Although scientific theories are constantly evolving as a result of new research and technological advances, we often accept the current belief as concrete fact. How can this trusting mindset limit the possibility for intellectual advancement and how can we seek to keep an open mind?

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