Q1: Evaluate Principe’s closing remarks about the disconnect between modern science and the wider culture (see the bottom of p. 134). Is his pessimism exaggerated? What is the role of the humanities, if any, in fixing the problem?
A1: I do not think Principe is misplaced in his pessimism. Though we have “an astonishing level of material and intellectual wealth” in the age of information, more is not always better. Science today seems more driven by monetary motivations than it is by genuine curiosity. The role of humanities is integral in restoring this because of its interdisciplinary nature. It allows us to examine history and progress with a wide lens, and often multiple lenses. We also have lost much of the influence of arts in the sciences. Scientific models and mappings during the scientific revolution were artistically represented, and some of the thought leaders at the time were artists themselves, most notably Leonardo Da Vinci. We have forgotten that beauty and precision are not mutually exclusive. Science is truly deserving of awe and benefits from the integration of the arts in realizing its true majesty
2. In the scientific revolution, we see a contrast of approaches. Some scientists sought to popularize their models to the point of mainstream acceptance while some bodies of work and schools of thought worked to keep their discoveries secret or exclusive, like alchemy. In science today, have we seen an increase in the privatization of science, or does it remain largely in the public realm? Perhaps it floats somewhere in-between, like in the case of Purdue Pharma, where the fruits of scientific inquiry were publicly available, but at a cost: both literally financial and abstractly societal.