How many cultures? 'Real presences' and the healing of the academy

T. Mcleish, W. Poon
2001 Interdisciplinary Science Reviews  
In this paper we re-examine the relationship and possibilities for discourse between the academic disciplines called 'sciences' and those known as 'arts'. Do they represent one culture or two? An apparent diversity of views emerges in two contemporary writers, George Steiner and Nicholas Lash, the former differentiating the two, the latter insisting that the 'two cultures' debate itself is misconstrued. We follow the principal threads of both arguments in the light of an intimate involvement
more » ... mate involvement with the practice of science and its communication in public and academic contexts. Visiting aspects of both arts and sciences that distinguish them from other disciplines, the role of theory, and the twin purposes of function and contemplation, we find that much of the pain of discourse between them arises from a failure to recognise common structures and functions. As a result, either function or contemplation may be overemphasised at the expense of the other. We suggest directions in which the tensions might be resolved in both public and academic arenas. western music, ... looks backward, science is, by very In the context of his essay, Lash is urging a historiare now alive. Whereas the study of the humanities, the editions of the classics, the performance of established cally and philosophically informed understanding of
doi:10.1179/030801801679421 fatcat:ffbrsqefojh6vot2bhbusizwtm