Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Art vs. Science?

Dr. Scott Lowe of the Philosophy department sent me the link to an article on the importance of the liberal arts, written by a chemist and published on the Washington Post website: .

Choice excerpts:

" ... if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts."


"Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs."

I love this article. Yet the use of the word "training" in its title gave me pause: training, to me, only teaches someone (or something) how to respond to certain stimulus. Ivy can be trained to grow into topiary shapes and dogs trained to obey commands. We do--and should--train students. But more importantly, we also educate them. Regardless of their major, they will as leaders be called upon to go beyond the bounds of training, to use their judgment to apply what they've learned from the arts, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities--to solve problems and create opportunities we can't even yet imagine.

There's no training for that.


  1. Agreed.
    I like the word "pioneer."
    Has our "training" inspired and enabled our souls to be pioneers?

  2. Creativity can not be taught it is something fostered by exploration and freedom. My liberal arts background in history and humanities has never failed me regardless the situation or place, from the parish to industry to academe. Having an advanced degree in rhetoric, one of the fundamental areas of study from the beginnings of the university has not been a bad choice. The liberal arts has taught me to integrate and synthesize, to think and ponder, to have a healthy skepticism and consider all the options.