“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.
Today more than ever, the sciences and humanities have become intertwined and rely on each other to answer the question of how and why regarding human nature. While science may focus on mathematical abstraction, deriving knowledge about the world through mathematical operations, the humanities focuses on a different kind of abstraction. The humanities derive meaning from the simplification of complex concepts into smaller notions. Then, strategically analyze these smaller concepts to gain insight into human life and the reasons for what we do. Science examines big picture ideas and narrows down in succession, while humanities follows small ideas to understand the bigger picture. These distinctions work together rather than oppose each other to create a holistic understanding of the world. Galileo references the “Book of Nature” and quotes “this grand book, I mean the universe… is written in the language of mathematics and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it” (pg 73). The Book of Nature is a philosophical and religious concept which views nature as a “book” to be read to gain knowledge, insight, and to truly understand the world. This reveals the need for both humanities and science to understand the human person and the physical world. Science, through the use of mathematics, communicates the fundamentals of our existence and the humanities go beneath the surface to analyze the human experience.
What, today, can be considered revolutionary? Does this term carry the same meaning as it once did or have we reached the capacity for revolution as it was once defined?