WEEK 6: THE THIRD CULTURE
FEB 07: TWO CULTURES + ONE CULTURE =? – The Two Cultures and the
Scientific Revolution by C.P. Snow
SUMMARY OF TWO CULTURES: two cultures divided by total incomprehension
the thesis stated that “the intellectual life of the whole of western society was split into 2 cultures, one being
the sciences and the other being humanities and this is a major problem ithsolving the world’s problems.
Science and humanities have come down different paths way into the 20 century. Scientists disregard the
“traditional culture” and the humanities refuse to look at the natural world, this creates conflict.
He calls the humanities natural luddites, which are men refusing to understand the industrial revolution
BECAUSE it damages the traditional culture. Snow believes that industrialization is the hope of the poor
and this revolution was followed by the scientific revolution in the area of electronics, atomics and
automation. This widened the cultural divide because scientists lost the ability to communicate with the
mechanics and artisans of the industry who understood the industrial revolution. Basically, scientisits and
humanities share a common problem, but they don’t have any ways of communicating with each other or
the rest of us.
Then he discusses the rich and the poor. He blamed the divide on the failure of the poor nations to
industrialize. Therefore, he included the Russian government and other communist nations in the group of
rich nations because they made the transition to heavy industry.
He located the solution to all of these problems in education because he thought that by making education
in the West less specialized we could have scientists learning about culture and humanities learning about
science. He thought that making the poor nations rich would just be as easy as educating these populations
in a well rounded program, both science and humanities.
- Newton, William Blake
o Split between 2 worlds
o Romantic way to think about science
MATTHEW ARNOLD VS. T.H. HUXLEY: the debate of scientific education
- Huxley preaches about the virtues of science and dismissed all value in studying the classics - Arnold rebutled by saying that although he says he is not a scientist and nobody can really doubt
the truth of the natural sciences but science may also lead us to destruction or totalitarian goals on
a macro scale