Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0127. Thursday, 17 February 1994.
Date: Thursday, 17 Feb 1994 00:52:28 -0400
Subject: Universals and Science
Much as I weary of this discussion's annoying dualism and ideological
entrenchment, and hesitant as I am to add fuel to the flames, I couldn't let
J.Taylor's comment about science pass. He said: "Yes we can get something we
call scientific truth by limiting our focus - that's why it's science and not
the humanities." I would argue that "scientific truth" is not arrived at by
limiting our focus (or only temporarily), any more than narrowing down a thesis
topic implies that "artistic truth" is narrow.... but perhaps that is beside
the point. What really bothered me about this statement was, that it seemed to
dismiss scientific truth as irrelevant to the arguement at hand, while I
believe it is very relevant indeed. If it is true that we are simply ruled by
chemicals (or, actually, ruled by chemicals in an extremely complicated way)
then it would follow that, since we are all ruled by the same chemicals and
the same processes, physical reality must cut across cultural boundaries.
Perhaps this does *not* mean that there are any universal human truths; I don't
know. But it is, at least a starting point. I think if we hope to come to any
kind of an answer about these Great Questions, we can't start out by ignoring
huge chunks of knowledge. Does anybody know if the Elizabethans would have
seen the sciences and the humanities as such separate disciplines as we tend
to? It seems to me that math and music were commonly paired subjects....