Other Ways of Knowing

Nice post by Russell Blackford about the fact that humanities does, in fact, have methodologies, making a clear distinction from mystical claims. I think the most helpful part is pointing out that rigorous investigation is available throughout human endeavor.

What I believe is simply that there are many techniques that are used to find out stuff. All of those techniques are available to scientists, just as they are to everyone else. However, science has refined some techniques to unprecedented levels of precision, control, systematicity, and so on, and has thus made progress with problems that were intractable for thousands of years … but started to become more tractable around about the beginning of the seventeenth century.

It should also be pointed out that the techniques that science has refined to this extent are also available to humanities scholars, just as those used by humanities scholars are available to scientists. There’s just one world and there’s no clear demarcation as to what techniques are going to be useful to find out stuff about it.

Maybe it’s helpful to think of these as “other ways of learning.” There seems to be a lot of anxiety locked up in the learning–knowing matrix.

Read the whole thing at Keeping the humanities alive – and a bit on “other ways of knowing”

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