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The Definition of the Humanities

In the contemporary, digital world, the ability to stay a human being is as essential as it was centuries ago. Humanities play a considerable role in different areas of activity, showing their influence on the process of every person’s becoming a mature individual. It is regrettable that people scarcely have paid appropriate attention to such a vital branch of science. This essay will compare my initial personal idea of this study with the current one and show the differences between humanist practices and social sciences. In addition, some of the broad subjects that are studied in humanities will be examined.

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I had not been considering humanities as a unique branch of study for my entire life. This deceiving idea is derived from believing that all disciplines, which compose humanities, are independent and do not serve the particular purpose that unites them. Moreover, I had been confusing humanities with social sciences, considering that they both examine the same object with the same method. As a result of my primary exploration of the topic, I have acquired an adjusted insight into the humanities’ definition and their role in science. In my opinion, humanities are parts of a complex, human-centric approach to cognition of worldwide processes in society and self-cognition. The primary method of the study is critical thinking based on evidence, rationality, and objectivity. The main purpose of humanities is to educate individuals and develop their human qualities through a variety of disciplines and transfer our ancestor’s heritage. This understanding will be supported by examining broad subjects of humanities and comparing humanities with the social sciences in the following paragraphs.

It is necessary to consider all main disciplines that are studied in it to obtain an accurate insight into areas of activity, which are related to humanities. Art, music, literature, philosophy, and history are subjects that are based on a human-centric approach (Humanities 101). Before deepening into every branch of science separately, it is worth adding that all of them transfer their ancestors heritage without scientifically processing the data. Art, music, and literature are the methods of obtaining an innovative product. All of them are distinguished from general acquired skills and exempt from empirical measures (Humanities 101). Philosophy is a pure representation of a rational approach to considering fundamental, universal problems, and the use of critical analysis is an indicator of humanities (Humanities 101). History is used to analyze events and developments of the past. As it has objective data with a logical pattern of cause and effect, history is an appropriate subject for applying critical thinking techniques, without additional measurements or observations. The mentioned disciplines belong to humanities due to considering universal problems, using rational thinking, and the absence of necessity for further scientific processing.

The main misunderstanding that may occur is the confusion of humanities with social sciences. Less complicated is the comparison with natural sciences. Most people find the difference between the two approaches significant due to the prevalence of rigorous methods and specific natural sciences objects. The first and the most noticeable difference between humanities and social sciences are empirical, scientific approach to cognition that belongs to social sciences. Such social subjects as psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and others are related to a group’s social improvement and are researched through analysis of experiments and methodical knowledge practices (Humanities 101). However, they do not affect self-improvement directly, as they focused on patterns of large group behavior and consider trends that affect society through scientific measurements, observations, and statistical analysis. The mentioned facts differ these disciplines from humanities, which were examined in the previous paragraphs, as they do not require scientific techniques, but only rational considering the reliable data.

Humanist practices are capable of clarifying the individual’s appropriate place in society and improving their habits and behavior at the same time. Social sciences do not pay close attention to self-development but assist in measuring the communities ways of living (Humanities 101). Humanities are primarily concerned with universal human constants that define significant processes and phenomena that affect every human being (Humanities 101). Humanities show a substantial difference from social sciences due to unique objects of research and applied techniques, based on critical and rational thinking, reflected through specific subjects.

To conclude, after the first correct insight into humanities, I changed my opinion about them substantially. My previous understanding was biased, ignorant, and uncertain because of the confusion with social sciences. Now, I have a primary definition of humanism and humanities. Humanities is the third branch of science that consists of such broad subjects as art, music, literature, philosophy, history, etc. Humanities’ initial aim is to educate people to think rationally and critically, improving individuals” personal qualities, habits, and behavior. The significant difference between humanities from social sciences such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology is in specific research objects and unique approaches. Humanities use critical and rational thinking to process objective data without scientific measurements or observations. It considers processes that affect every person and society in general. Thus, the logical consequence of studying humanities is obtaining the ability to solve universal problems.

Work Cited

Humanities 101. Lecture 1: Course Introduction-Lecture Notes.

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