Re: humanities, 3rd culture, reflexive admissions...

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Tue, 5 Sep 1995 19:23:27 -0500

At 08:48 PM 9/4/95 -0400, John H. Stevens, Jr. wrote:

>John thinks this is an economic thing, but the emotions and rhetoric that
>it spawns smack more of identity politics, only a part of which is

John's statement is quite representative of my experience with this duality.
Perhaps somebody can recommend some general works along these lines...

A wide assortment of opinions, most of them justifiable, have been
expressed here regarding the split between humanism and scientism. While it
is clear that most of the participants feel that there is no primordial or
'essential' reality to these categories (which, of course, would make them
all the more interesting to Levi-Strauss - but I am not Levi-Strauss), it is
clear to at least two of us (Jeremy and I) that the boundaries tend to
dissolve under various (probably not strictly economic) conditions. For
Jeremy, they dissolve as he tries to examine their construction. For me,
they dissolved (almost irreparably) when I began to use scientific methods
(NOT the 19th century 'purely deductive' hypothesis testing stuff, but
rather logical and explicit induction from data and explicit theoretical
premises, with some deduction thrown in for flavor and refutation purposes)
to study traditionally humanistic domains (such as emotion, identity,
politics and rights) as well as my occasional forays into experimental
writing. I realized that many of the humanists (specially in the capacity
to think, write and read critically and logically) I read are better
scientists than many of the scientists I worked with on a day to day basis -
and that the reverse could also be true. However, I ought to mention that
my background in humanism has been, until recently, limited to history and
anthropology, while I've been a scientist (archaeology and geology)
concerned with human issues for about 9 years.

best to all,

Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256