Scientism and The Humanities

Until quite recently it was assumed that, if the humanities had a method, it was not the method of science. We do not appreciate and understand Shakespear’s plays by means of surveys and experiments, nor do we interpret a symphony by acoustical analysis, or a painting of Boticelli by pigment analysis. Art, literature, religion, music, and history belong to to the world we live in and is shaped by our own privileged consciousness. This is the Lebenswelt – the lived world. We study these thinngs not by explaining how they arose, but by discovering what they mean, by interpreting them. Explanation has a method and it is the method of science. Interpretation goes in search of a method, but never quite finds one.


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