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Progress and values in the humanities : comparing culture and science

Author: Volney P Gay
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, ©2010.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Money and support tend to flow in the direction of economics, science, and other academic departments that demonstrate measurable "progress." The humanities, on the other hand, offer more abstract and uncertain outcomes. A humanist's objects of study are more obscure in certain ways than pathogens and cells. Consequently, it seems as if the humanities never truly progress. Is this a fair assessment? By comparing  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Volney P Gay
ISBN: 9780231147903 0231147902 9780231519816 0231519818
OCLC Number: 320798892
Description: xi, 231 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Humanists and their subject matters --
The task of the humanities: looking into the deep --
A new answer --
Magnifying truths: two slide shows --
Searching for the hero: the one who knows --
Large-scale research in the humanities --
20mule team --
Choir --
Sports team --
Lifeboat --
Distributed computing --
Big science --
Skunk works: discovery at the edges --
Self-understanding as the object of humanistic research --
Deep language: the anxiety of translation --
Magnification and cultural objects --
Fantasies of depth: magnifying cultural objects --
Horizontal analyses in art criticism --
Psychotherapy: part science, part humanities, mostly art --
John Updike, rabbit reruns --
Science, art, metapsychology, and magnification --
Back to Freud, back to the Greeks! --
What counts as progress in the humanities? --
Back to Freud, back to the Greeks! --
Progress in Greek philosophy, literature, and mathematics --
Development and progress in Greek sculpture --
Greek literature, more serious than history --
Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus --
Progress in Greek mathematics: incommensurability --
Seven of nine and five of nine --
Science fiction and psychiatry --
Mapping the boundaries of human being --
Diagnosing the borderline personality: five of nine symptoms --
On the pleasures of science fiction: jumping into the abyss --
Progress as development of the self: from Greek cult to Greek theater --
Canals on mars: exploring imaginary worlds --
Virtual civilizations: Percival Lowell and the Martian Canals --
Pathological science: the limits of vision --
ESP at Duke: the story of J. Rhine --
Cargo cults and the ethics of science --
Thomas MacAulay and English destiny: history as grand narrative --
Searching for essences: Freud and Wittgenstein --
Seeing into the psyche: Freud's diagrams --
Wittgenstein and sharp focusing --
Magnifying truths in philosophical investigations --
The magnification fantasy and ideological leanings --
Cultural artifacts and reductionism --
Learning about the self: new horizons --
Seeing with the brain --
Learning from the market: reason as an interpersonal process --
High art and the power to guess the unseen from the seen --
Does high art convey knowledge? --
Tragedy and mourning as progress --
The power to guess the unseen from the seen --
Reality testing as an intrapsychic process --
Looking outward, three movies --
Blow up --
High anxiety --
The conversation --
Isolating valid signals, making the right cut --
Magnification in humanistic theory.
Other Titles: Comparing culture and science
Responsibility: Volney Gay.

Abstract:

"Money and support tend to flow in the direction of economics, science, and other academic departments that demonstrate measurable "progress." The humanities, on the other hand, offer more abstract and uncertain outcomes. A humanist's objects of study are more obscure in certain ways than pathogens and cells. Consequently, it seems as if the humanities never truly progress. Is this a fair assessment? By comparing objects of science, such as the brain, the galaxy, the amoeba, and the quark, with objects of humanistic inquiry, such as the poem, the photograph, the belief, and the philosophical concept, Volney Gay reestablishes a fundamental distinction between science and the humanities. He frees the latter from its pursuit of material-based progress and restores its disciplines to a place of privilege and respect. Using the metaphor of magnification, Gay shows that, while we can investigate natural objects to the limits of imaging capacity, magnifying cultural objects dissolves them into noise. In other words, cultural objects can be studied only within their contexts and through the prism of metaphor and narrative. Gathering examples from literature, art, film, philosophy, religion, science, and psychoanalysis, Gay builds a new justification for the humanities. By revealing the unseen and making abstract ideas tangible, the arts create meaningful wholes, which itself is a form of progress."--Jacket.

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An interdisciplinary book that itself serves as an eloquent example of why the humanities are priceless... Essential. Choice

 
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