The Sciences and Arts Share a Common Creative Aesthetic

  • Robert S. Root-Bernstein
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 182)


The sciences and arts were once, not so very long ago, considered to be very similar, certainly complementary, and sometimes even overlapping ways of understanding the world. No longer. Today we accept such generalizations as that the sciences are objective, analytical, and rational whereas the arts are subjective, emotional, and based on intuition. But I am a controversialist. The fact that arts and sciences are not widely perceived to be similar does not mean that they are not. Fashions often dictate perceptions of beauty and knowledge alike, and fashions are notoriously changeable. Thus, I am willing — indeed eager — to challenge the new fashion of separating sciences and arts into two, uncommunicating and even antagonistic camps. I believe that such a challenge is not only necessary if we are to develop a viable theory of thinking, but also healthy, for it should create controversy. Unlike some people, who believe that knowledge is best advanced by the slow accumulation of validated and undoubtable bits of information, I believe that we learn most by challenging conventional wisdom with the biggest and best arguments we can muster. This is my style. Sometimes it fails; sometimes it succeeds. But in either case, the process of trying to undermine dogma often reveals new aspects of knowledge, or forces it to be utilized in new and innovative ways that justify the rethinkings.


Aesthetic Experience Aesthetic Dimension Scientific Creativity Eminent Scientist Aesthetic Criterion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Root-Bernstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityUSA

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