[Humanist] 27.448 between STEM and the human sciences

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 20 09:54:37 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 448.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2013 10:49:15 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.444 between STEM and the human sciences?
        In-Reply-To: <20131019055037.1E9D25EB8 at digitalhumanities.org>

I think it's a good article, but I also think the issue has been
oversimplified by being defined in terms of STEM vs. the humanities. To me,
the real division is between applied vs. theoretical studies, and this
division obtains within and across individual fields. There is a great
affinity within the humanities for theoretical physics and other sciences
(just think about all of the humanities ink spilled by quantum physics and
chaos theory), and it's not hard to find philosophers who also have degrees
in advanced math.

As a side note, I prefer to shut up about quantum physics and chaos theory
until I understand the math, and I wish many of my colleagues would do the
same, but not all of them.

Now if we redraw the dividing lines between theoretical and applied studies
(a line with some gray area on either side, yes, but there is a lot of work
solidly in one area or the other), that leads us to a different question
about computing: what kind of a line exits between theoretical and applied
computing? Is there one in any meaningful sense of the word? I could see
discussion of A.I. becoming increasing theoretical and predicated on
processors that do not yet exist, but what else?

Jim R

On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 1:50 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

> A very thoughtful article on the relations between the human sciences
> (i.e. the humanities and interpretative social sciences) and the STEM
> disciplines (sciences, technology, engineering, medicine) has appeared
> in the Chronicle of Higher Education for 14 October: David A. Hollinger,
> "The Wedge Driving Academe's Two Families Apart",
> http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Cant-the-Sciencesthe/142239/?cid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en
> .

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