Bridging the gaps Between the Sciences, the Humanities, and the Things that Fall in Between

Posted June 23rd, 2010 at 1:54 pm.

Abstract: Kate Gould
Mentor: Dr. Franklin and Dr. Grobstein
All too often we delineate the Sciences and the Humanities as very different subjects that should be approached separately, as entirely different islands of information and as subjects that have no overlap. While there are obvious differences between the two, I believe that there are also many similarities and “bridgings” of the two that we don’t normally see. Because both subjects arise as part of the human mind, because they are both communicated through human language, and because they both have applications within each other, to call them diametrically opposed would be disingenuous. Moreover, to take such an approach would leave any analysis shortsighted and incomplete—when one could be utilize the two subjects in tandem.

My goal for the summer is to delve deeper into the idea that the Sciences and the Humanities (namely, language and literature), have far more in common than one would originally expect, and to find new ways of applying this idea to science education and the classroom. I also hope to find situations where one approach may be more useful than another, depending on the circumstances. Examples of this could be comparing the writing of a “formulaic essay,” constructing a persuasive argument, to the scientific method. For instance, both start with a hypothesis, a claim that needs to be examined. Observations are gathered and challenged, tested, and a conclusion is made—is this claim useful or not? Should we use it again? Different sets of “theories” are also interrelated, narratives that allow new observations to be built off of them or to rewrite them (i.e. cell theory as a foundation for biology; Romanticism as a foundation for Modernisms, which rejected and questioned the certainty of Enlightenment thinking; etc).
I also want to look at instances where literature poses interesting questions for science, about human culture, and suggest certain states of mind that we’ll examine by looking at the brain (science fiction, philosophy, etc).

Rather than assuming that you are either a “Science mind” or a “Humanities mind,” I hope to observe the mind as a collective of different “types” that can be utilized together to form a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the world. Hopefully, this approach will make access to both types of material more attainable for students in the realm of the Sciences and the Humanities.

Filed under: 2010,Franklin, Dr. Wilfred,Gould, Kate,Grobstein, Dr. Paul Tags: by Lisa Klinman

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