Elizabeth Vair Unit 2 Assignment 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 accurate to say that mathematical abstractions are a distinctive feature of science as humanities is a discipline that focuses on the human and emotional aspects of the world. In humanities, one focuses on culture and identity as a means for development. How a society thrives and how people interact is determined by aspects of their ‘humanity.’ Mathematical equations do not impact these interactions. Mathematical abstractions do little more than quantify the statistical likeliness of a development trend or interaction. These abstractions do not break down the core of humanities, nor do they explain why or how these interactions and aspects occur. Science is therefore distinctive because it describes a situation or thing through mathematical means. Science breaks something down to its core solely through the use of these mathematical abstractions. Consequently, science also reduces the importance of an item or process in this world to its most basic mathematical abstractions. For example, the importance of crops is based on the unique photosynthetic processes they undergo to produce nutrients humans then consume. However, in the humanities, crops could be deemed as important based on their cultural and social implications – which traditional foods were made with them and which crops were grown in each region for harvest. 

What is the definition of science and how has it changed over time? 

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