The author describes the origin of the NEXA Program at San Francisco State University in California. He discusses the function of the staff seminar, the formation of a new curriculum based upon cooperating teams of humanists and scientists, the planning and offering of public events that bring science and humanities to common focus and the dissemination of NEXA throughout a 19-campus system by means of consultations, conferences and workshops.
His discussion continues with an historical summary of the so-called ‘two-cultures’ dilemma, whose origins are traced to the 17th century and whose consequences for the 19th- and 20th-century experience are examined in some detail. Specific attention is paid to the new field of sociobiology as an example of scientific reductionism.
The present plight of the humanities is considered in terms of both neglect and abuse. The role of logical positivism as a failed bridge between science and humanities is examined, as are possible future alternatives for a rehumanized philosophy.
The author then considers ‘the new humanities’, defined as the study of human culture in both its major manifestations—scientific and humanistic—coequally, employing a convergent approach to determine the generic ‘form’ (in Henri Frankfort’s sense) of Western civilization. He concludes with an invitation to professionals in many fields to join NEXA in this enterprise.