Science and the Arts and Humanities

“The expertise of the sciences in diagnosing environmental problems has not, as of yet, translated into a coherent vision of sustainability. The focus on narrative skill, critical thinking, historicity, culture, aesthetics and ethics central to the humanities and to humanistic social sciences provides a crucial research complement to the endeavors of scientists.”

This quote comes from the “overview” of the Environmental Humanities journal Resilience (see link to the right). There is much to agree within it – at first glance. The proposal embedded in it is that a complementary and supportive relationship between art and science is needed. The problem with this is that much of modern(ist) science is destructive and has, in partnership with capital and certain ideologies and theologies, pushed us into the dire position we are now in. The arts and humanities need to be much more assertive, and need to challenge much of science as it is currently operating. We are not seeking a ‘war’ with science – but we believe the basic cultures and narratives of nature-society relations need to change – and the arts and humanities need to lead that, and challenge science – not complement it in current forms.

About Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities, and I am Director of the University's Environmental Humanities Research Centre
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