Abstract

For the past generation, academic disciplines have been under attack as bastions of conservatism, the enemies of progress, and barriers to original thinking. An interdisciplinary “consilience” has been advanced as the solution to problems of academic inertia and defensiveness. Recent years have provided several examples of interdisciplinary work that seeks to blend the humanities and the sciences. Darwinian literary studies, scaling, and the “spatial humanities” all illustrate the kinds of innovation made possible by such an approach. But all share one striking characteristic, an indifference to human subjectivity. The suggested conclusion is that interdisciplinary work involving the humanities and science generally does not involve a mutual enrichment but rather a compromising of the fundamental premise of the humanities, and that the project of consilience should be advanced with considerable caution.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 221-240
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-04
Open Access
No
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