Humanities: Defined (almost)


Can we really define “Humanities”? Perhaps not, but we can, at the very least, attempt to narrow in on an idea.

The Humanities are the study of humans, past and present, and what humans have done and do. One could argue that this would encompass all academic disciplines, including the sciences, because, after all, humans invented the sciences. In a way, the Humanities does encompass the sciences, but approaches them from a humanistic perspective. Humanists would study the scientists themselves, their lives, how they worked. Thus, the Humanities must overlap with the sciences at times.

As I ponder a definition for the Humanities, I find that, to try to define it/them too specifically can only be constricting and limiting to the vast, sprawling universe that is the Humanities.

Many seem to feel the need to draw a hard line between academic disciplines: to categorize them. But what is the value of a hard line? Why study one and exclude all others? The Humanities are inclusive, subjective, dynamic, and all-encompassing.



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