The worn out battles of “humanities vs sciences” have been fought a thousand times and yet, you can still pick up the scent of doubt about “true values” of humanities in the opinion pieces. I am looking at Will the Humanities Save Us?, Stanley Fish and the response by Dan Edelstein in here.
I am going to disagree with Fish when he surmises that the only answer to “what good is humanities for anyway?” is a form of humanities for the sake of humanities rationale. The idea being that such questions are so utilitarian that they only apply to science.
No! Let us flip the question. What good has science (in its isolated concentrate form) has done for us. And why not stretch the meaning of “us” just a little bit to include human beings, animals and the planet altogether because things start to look different at this level. We have eradicated the infectious diseases but we are still unable to convince parents to vaccinate their children (+). And all the peer-reviewed journals in the world are not enough to change a politicians mind about climate change. These doubts about liberal arts are absurd to me. As an engineer, I can clearly see how the positivist attitude of STEM can become completely oblivious to human condition. We owe it to STEM students an education that meaningfully connects them to their community and environment.