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The two cultures and Renaissance humanism

CYNTHIA M. PYLE
New York University, NY, USA

C. P. Snows two cultures distinction between scientific and humanistic thought is perennial. It may be said to correspond to empirical and metaphorical bents in human nature. Since antiquity, attempts have been made by some to bridge the gap. The natural bridge of scientific (in the broad sense) scholarship has been largely overlooked, but the development in the West of philological and historical methods by fifteenth and early sixteenth century humanists (in the technical sense) exhibits numerous criteria and examples of a scientific approach to the world around us, as does such scholarship today.

INTRODUCTORY THE TWO CULTURES DEBATE Dialogue some may call it dialectic; the ancient Greeks called it agon is inherent to human experience. It exists at all levels of society, from two individuals confronting each other, to two groups facing the threat of a strike through mediation, to two nations attempting to deflect war by engaging in diplomacy. Human warfare could even be termed a form of dialogue, put into effect when diplomacy breaks down. Agon, as Jacqueline de Romilly has so rightly pointed out, was the basis for the original Greek democracy;1 it is also intended to be the modus operandi for Western parliamentary and congressional governments. Such dialogue is obviously the basis for theatre, again from Greek agon forward, and in the theatrical traditions of the Eastern hemisphere as well, beginning with the dramatisation of warring scenes in the Bhagavad Gita. Agon even exists within an individuals mind, as that person weighs pros and cons, coming gradually to a decision about a life-change, a meal, a word. C. P. Snows two cultures . . . In his Rede Lecture of 1959, the physicist and novelist Charles Percy Snow re-opened a controversy which, in various guises over the centuries, has perhaps been one of the most fruitful in the history of human society. Snow entitled his lecture The two cultures, while joking that the number 2 is a very dangerous number; that is why the dialectic is a dangerous process.2 He was arguing against expanding his treatment to three categories (for indeed it could be expanded to multiple areas), thereby losing what might be called its polemical edge. His two categories, then, were the scientific and literary cultures, and he decided to include applied science and technology with the former for the same reason. Snow, whose own career spanned serious work in both areas, perceived in the England of the time strong differences impeding communication between scientists and humanists (using this term here in its current broad meaning of those concerned with the
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humanities). One might almost say that members of the two camps looked down their noses at each other, Escher-like, in their relations (or lack of them). Snow believed this to be deleterious to both camps. He brings to his arguments his concern about the poverty of most of the world, and povertys real effects on humanitys social, political and existential condition problems we are only today allowing ourselves to realise are rooted in the population explosion, itself enabled by the industrial revolution, another of Snows topics, and, he thought, a remedy for poverty.3 Snow defines the scientific culture stemming from the industrial revolution by its common attitudes, standards, behaviour, approaches and assumptions (intensive, rigorous, and constantly in action; containing a great deal of argumentation, . . . and almost always at a higher conceptual level than literary persons arguments; p. 12). This is of course both offensive to the literary camp and yet a more satisfactory definition than relying on mere subject-matter, for it gets to the heart of how exactly scientists differ from humanists, in Snows opinion: to a large extent, it is the way they work, their praxis, that distinguishes the two camps. The division, in Snows discussion, is heightened by the fact that the scientists he considers are physicists, and the humanists he considers (and we shall see this occurring in other treatments of these and similar questions) are literati, people of letters and even simply the reading public, rather than scholars. The traditionalists, as Snow calls the non-scientists, exhibit a superciliousness with regard to the natural sciences born, in many cases, of ignorance. Yet Snow does not attempt to define how they themselves work, what their praxis is, except to say that it is different from the scientists. The fact is that, if he is referring in the humanities to writers of fiction like himself, the praxis is indeed very different: it is, like scientific practice, a creative process, but one beholden only to itself, a process where, as in all of what we today call the fine arts, the principal criteria are subjective. (There are certainly subjective facets to scientific practice, but there the principal criteria are objective: conclusions must rhyme with factual data or be discarded.) If, on the other hand, Snow had referred in the humanities to scholars, for example historians, his arguments for distinguishing between the two areas would not have been as clear as he managed to make them. Snow terms the industrial revolution by far the biggest transformation in society since the discovery of agriculture (pp. 2223). Because the two transformations have now become united in industrialised agriculture, we are dealing with forces that are daunting indeed, the effects of which are in even greater need of understanding. Yet Snows literary intellectuals are natural Luddites, ill-equipped to confront the sociopolitical problems of our time. And his scientists, while more dependably trained to think critically, are ill-equipped to confront these problems on their own, human, terms as well. Enter a third potential culture: that of applied science and engineering. Snow terms the scientific revolution (apparently in ignorance of or forgetting the normal use of the term to apply to the great seventeenth-century efflorescence of the natural sciences) that application of real science to industry (p. 29) which occurred in his own time that is, especially, since the first industrial use of atomic particles in the 1920s. I believe the industrial society of electronics, atomic energy, automation . . . will change the world much more [than any previous transformation] (p. 30). Snow was perhaps overly optimistic about the positive effects of both the industrial and the contemporary scientific revolutions. Although he recognised the gap between rich
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and poor as one of the three great menaces to civilisation, along with the H-bomb and overpopulation (p. 46), he was convinced that since the gap between the rich countries and the poor can be removed, it will be. But we need only read on to realise that he admitted the possibility of the gaps removal by war and starvation, if good will or enlightened self-interest did not govern policy. For this to happen, Snow recognised the need for two things: capital, and trained scientists and engineers. And he realised that the scientists and engineers must also be trained in human terms (p. 47), and not in paternalistic human terms, in a colonialist spirit, but in equal human terms, cognisant of the humanity, including the intelligence, of all members of the species. He recognised the magnitude of the problem, and the questions that could be posed with regard to the feasibility of the great redirections that needed to take place in order for humanity to confront and resolve the dangers of the three great threats. (He may not have yet realised the magnitude of our species threat to the very existence of the planet on which it depends for its own existence.) And, his time being characterised by the Cold War, he felt that if the West did not confront these dangers, the Soviet Union would. But he outlined the gravity of the problem, ending with the words: We have very little time. So little that I dare not guess at it (p. 51). . . . and the reactions to it Sir Charless lecture did not go unnoticed. Numerous essays were devoted to responding to it in the British periodical Encounter and elsewhere over the succeeding months.4 These were constructive, sober contributions from various fields of endeavour, literary, sociological and scientific. However, some critics were more personally touched, especially by his criticisms of the lack of scientific knowledge among those involved in the humanities. One such critic was F. R. Leavis, whose attack on Snow in 1962 unfortunately became the best known of the replies.5 Whereas Snows lecture was directed, not at any one individual, but at a state of affairs he thought required debate and remedy, the tone of Leaviss response was defensive, vitriolic and personal, putting into question whether the infamous opposition of the two should be called a debate at all. Certainly Leaviss response does not show him at his critical or intellectual best; the subtlety of mind for which he is rightly admired is obscured by his emotional stance (though it must be added in his defence as Anthony West pointed out in 1962 that in his novel The Affair, Snow had apparently modelled an unsavoury Cambridge academic on Leavis). But the debate, the agon, between the two camps, scientific and humanistic, had neither begun nor ended there. It is in fact perennial. And it is revisited with reason at various times and in various terms by those deeply concerned with either the state of the humanities or that of the sciences, or with communications between the two which should include all of us today. For while the question of antagonism between the humanities and the sciences has been addressed on both sides of the Atlantic in many ways since 1959, we are now confronted with an even more contentious question, the discrepancies between religious belief and scientific scepticism. The HuxleyArnold debate Snows approach to the question of science versus letters was famously preceded by the nineteenth-century debate between the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, a friend and
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defender of Charles Darwin, and Huxleys other friend and later relative by marriage, the critic, poet and playwright Matthew Arnold. Huxleys inaugural lecture of 1880 for the Mason Technical College in Birmingham6 was a call for the greater presence of science in the educational curriculum, though not necessarily a cross-pollination between the humanities and the sciences. Rather, he felt that science at the time had been neglected to the point where a technological or scientific training, without undue emphasis on the classical languages and literatures, should be advocated as sufficient unto itself. Modern languages could substitute for the classics, and the emphasis, in a technical school, should be on science and technology. This of course does not address the rift between the two branches of learning it could instead be said to inflame it and Arnolds response made that the central question of the debate, implying that ethics and aesthetics (our sense for conduct, our sense for beauty) could be taught only through the study of the humane letters, specifically including the Greek and Latin classics.7 Earlier manifestations of the debate Precedents for both these more recent debates abound across the centuries. One need only think of the Querelle des Anciens et Modernes of the French seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, of which J. W. Lorimer has singled out a previously overlooked strand, the debate on the merits of Science and Erudition.8 This debate pitted such moderns as Descartes and Voltaire, who disdained looking to historical figures for insights into the world or knowledge, against those traditionalists who saw merit in the study of the classics, even recognising their contributions to the natural sciences, if not directly, then by way of intuitions which anticipated and might even inspire findings of contemporary scientists. Might we even go so far as to allude to the debate between Plato and Aristotle, or that throughout Western history since ancient Greece, between Platonists and Aristotelians? Is there not a sense of the metaphorical versus the empirical inherent in these differences in style and forms of analysis: the Socratic eliciting of knowledge through metaphor and the Aristotelian process of analysis and synthesis (evident not only in his theoretical systems, but in his work as a zoologist)? DISTINCTIONS Apples and oranges There is a serious oversight in most of these debates, including, in part, the French Querelle: they oppose two disparate types of work. One type of work the scientific makes use of external criteria or standards of thought; the other type of work the literary makes use of internal criteria or standards of thought. While portions of these antagonisms oppose mere accumulation of knowledge to active investigation, they confuse erudition with appreciation (of the supercilious sort that Huxley and Snow inveighed against); other portions of the debates oppose purely creative to scientific work. The operative categories are never defined. In doing science of almost any sort, scientists must measure their conclusions by the data or experimental findings they arrive at, as independently as possible from their
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subjective judgement. (Though most agree today that the subjective element is present and even important in scientific undertakings, at various stages of the work.) In writing literary works (which is what most of the debaters seem to consider working in the humanities, though some also adduce the visual arts and music), the writer must measure discoveries by his or her own interior judgement, most often about human behaviour or thought. Little attention is paid to what can indeed be called a scientific undertaking in the humanities, to wit, scholarship. In scholarship, for example historical or philological scholarship, criteria are also external, as they are in the natural sciences. The conclusions must rhyme with the data discovered in the course of ones research. When they do not, the conclusions must be alterred. Such discrepancies, of course, are not always checked, any more than they are in science though the external controls are more rigorous in the scientific community. Scientific experiments are, theoretically at least, reproducible in other laboratories or through others analyses of the data; in history, such controls are applied less systematically than is healthy for the field, for they amount to re-researching an article or a book or at least checking deeply on a point or points made in such work, and historians most often work alone, rather than in a laboratory with assistants, rendering such controls cumbersome. However, the signal characteristic of such work in either the sciences or the humanities can be termed its critical nature: its subjection of theories and conclusions to comparison with data and observed phenomena. Critical work has been performed in the humanities in the West since ancient times, beginning with the rudimentary steps of the first historian, Herodotus, and the development of logic by Aristotle. Scholarly practice A number of recent studies have implied that the so-called social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, etc.) are the logical bridge between the humanities and the sciences.9 And so it might seem at first glance. But, in fact, an even more logical bridge has existed for longer than most people of either camp today realise. Well before the existence of todays social sciences, the Western world had scholarship. I am thinking especially of scholarship of two particular kinds: textual and historical. While textual and historical scholarship do not have the press or the glamour (or the financing) of the natural sciences, they continue apace, in a beleaguered sort of way, under the auspices of research universities, great libraries and dedicated individuals, often in those traditional fields which were attacked by the pro-science, pro-modern sides of the debates we have just been considering, i.e. the classics and the history of literatures. These traditional fields have recently undergone an onslaught from theoreticians in the humanities, many of whom have applied their often brilliant minds to seeking intellectual challenges in the very areas of criticism that Snow might have had in mind, which had become somewhat soft in their approaches to their subject-matter, usually criticism of literary or artistic works. Some of these upstarts are philosophers, some literary critics, and some literati; some are even social scientists.10 They have devised, out of their (humankinds) remarkable powers of intellect, complex and sometimes arcane systems of approaching the text or other works of art, often through their understandings (and misunderstandings) of anthropological or theoretical-linguistic terms. Their ideas
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have jarred the humanities and stirred up deeply felt debates of their own. As with all iconoclasms, this one has had its effect on its targeted dogmas of thought. Some of these theorists ideas have become almost commonplace; others have been discarded outright. But even those who saw through the emperors new clothes were affected by the phenomenon, having to open vast areas of their fields to a new interdisciplinarity that has brought some surprising changes. Among the most serious scholars, the old precision of their traditional practices has remained, both as a buffer against nonsense and as a seriousness of intent to learn as deeply as possible from (often scientific) fields in which they have had no previous training. One can look at the work, for example, of the classicist and textual scholar Michael D. Reeve, who, in addressing questions of genealogy in manuscript stemmata, found common ground with the taxonomical concept in biology of cladism (dichotomous lines of descent) who in fact was even able to point to the philological and historical linguistic origins of the biological use of the term.11 HISTORICAL QUESTIONS Renaissance humanism Up to this point, we have been using the terms humanism, humanistic and humanities rather loosely. Turning to the Renaissance, the term humanism takes on a particular and technical meaning, while retaining its relation to what we think of as the humanities. Renaissance humanism grew out of the seven liberal arts of the Middle Ages: the trivium (grammar, rhetoric and philosophy) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music) it is interesting to see in this earlier categorisation of the arts (its formalisation dating from Martianus Capella in the fifth century CE) the very division we are dealing with here between the humanities and the sciences. In antiquity the division was not so clear, and what boundaries could be discerned were drawn along different and evolving lines. By the fifteenth century in Italy we find that these medieval pedagogical divisions have considerably evolved (by which I mean changed over time, with no positive or negative connotation), into the studia humanitatis (grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and moral philosophy), or what we may begin to call the humanistic studies.12 The quadrivium was absorbed into what was termed natural philosophy, including many of what we today call the sciences: astronomy, botany, anatomy, and that elegant tool of science, mathematics. The mechanical arts on the other hand were treated with some disdain from antiquity onward, coming into recognition only in the twelfth century systems of the scholastics.13 But what truly distinguishes the fifteenth century in Italy from immediately earlier periods is not simply the scheme of categorisation of the various realms of knowledge. Nor is it the great body of knowledge of the classical world that was being unearthed at the time through the discovery and study of old manuscripts, though that was indeed happening. It is the attitude with which these manuscripts and the texts they contained were pursued that had changed drastically, from that of teleologically seeking the expected answers to scholarly questions, the answers that would not disturb the status quo, to a more sceptical attitude, open to answers that might indeed disturb previous or present concepts. As the philosopher Eugenio Garin, the Italianist Roberto Weiss and the classicist Ludwig Edelstein noticed decades ago, the men who were engaged in philological
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activities were not merely unearthing classical texts and copying them (though they were doing both those things); they were looking at them differently from the way men of the immediately preceding generations had looked at them: not as authorities to be revered and committed to memory, but as artifacts of other human minds who had lived at a different time in history and in a different culture.14 Beginning with Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch (130474), a new understanding of history was developing, one that sought to understand the past as an independent, external reality, and on its own terms. In order to do so, Petrarch and his followers developed the philological methods to discern, not just who had said what, but what exactly that person had actually written. They developed linguistic methods, mastering a Latin that was not theirs; historical methods, understanding a culture that was not theirs; and codicological and paleographical methods, attempting to identify the manuscripts which might take them closest to the authors original text and meaning. These methods have come down to us over the intervening six or seven centuries in a process of continual refinement; they are still in use today in the classics and other historical literary studies and in history itself. Science and the humanities All this is far closer to what we today think of as a scientific enterprise than has been recognised or than is embodied in the literary and artistic culture that C. P. Snow and the other participants in the debates over several centuries between the humanities and the sciences were referring to. In particular, it is closer to what may be called the historical natural sciences by which I mean those sciences with a historical component, such as archaeology, geology, paleontology, natural history, evolution and even astronomy. In these sciences, the scientist is, in a sense, at the mercy of history, being required to observe natures experiments (as the great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr put it), and to infer or reconstruct the conditions under which the experiment has taken place.15 The scientist, too, is at the mercy of whatever artefacts may have survived, often over millennia. The practice of history (and by extension of literary history), while by definition concerned with a far briefer period that of recorded history is not unlike these sciences, in that it is at the mercy of the evidence available in the historical record. Tools must be developed to investigate historical events and even ideas. And this is the very activity that the Italian humanists of the period c. 13501500 were engaged in. Still in the process (often painful, as in Petrarchs case) of being freed from dogmatic constraints on what could be known, by geopolitical, epidemiological and socio-economic events and crises wars, epidemics, mercantile concerns they began to develop a sense of the reality of historical people, places and events, and to construct tools i.e. philological and historical methods with which to critically assess the validity of historical evidence they were finding, in manuscripts and in the ruins and artefacts of classical antiquity. Scholars like Lorenzo Valla (140757) and Angelo Poliziano (145494), following on Petrarchs energetic lead, continued to develop and refine philological methods to determine and reconstruct classical texts, on the basis of their language (both men immersed themselves in lexicographical studies of different periods of classical Latin), and by attempting to determine how close a manuscript came to the author of its text (at the beginning, long before chemical analysis of parchment or ink was available, this was beyond them, but they made the attempt, Poliziano, for example, seeking out the oldest manuscript by noting the state of its parchment and its script).16
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These trends began to move beyond the borders of Italy as early as the mid-fifteenth century, with, for example, Duke Humfrey of Gloucester consulting humanists like Pier Candido Decembrio on the development of his library.17 By the early sixteenth century, they had affected many currents, from the religious reform movements (Erasmian and Protestant) to the developing sciences of archaeology (Leon Battista Alberti and his contemporaries were engaged in archaeological investigations a full century earlier) and natural history (the late fifteenth century botanical treatises of Mattioli, Brunfels and Fuchs, stimulated by pharmaceutical needs, revived a field that had been neglected since Theophrastus and Dioscurides).18 The historian and expounder of metallurgy and mining, Georg Pawer (Bauer), or Georgius Agricola (14941555), is an apt example of those touched by Renaissance humanistic scholarly currents. His early humanistic education had introduced him to the intricacies of Latin and Greek grammar (his first publication was a Latin school grammar); he had then studied theology and medicine. To the many facets of his own education was joined the practical, technological bent of his father, probably a textile merchant who, of necessity, had had to know something of the technologies of the day, including the dyeing process and the reactions among substances, including metals, involved in it.19 It has been suggested that this was the origin of Agricolas interest in metallurgy; his interest was certainly furthered by a need to study the effects and interactions of medicinal metals. Agricolas interests led him to Italy, where he studied medicine and assisted the edition of the Aldine Galen (1525) in Venice (another technological undertaking), and possibly that of Hippocrates as well (1526). Thus was created one of the great polymath minds of the sixteenth century, not unlike that of Agricolas younger correspondent, the town physician of Zurich and pivotal European naturalist, Conrad Gessner (151665).20 Agricola, unlike Gessner, had an entrepreneurial bent too, which seems to have served him well, both in the publication of his works and for his own wellbeing (and which recalls C. P. Snows emphasis on the need for both capital and training). However, the two men humanists and scientists both shared the signal characteristic of the early humanists we have already noticed: a scientific critical rigour that left no stone unturned in their researches into the topic at hand. Both mens critical acumen can be seen from the fact that they withheld judgement on questions until such evidence as might confirm or deny their resolution might be found Gessner is quite explicit about this in a letter to John Caius, Agricola in his systematic investigations into even the lexicography of mining and metallurgy and his insistence on either seeing for himself or ascertaining the reliability of his sources for evidence on the practices of mining and metallurgy.21 And the interests and activities of these two scientifically oriented men can be seen to have handily bridged the gap between the sciences and the humanities through their investigation and treatment of the concrete reality of the world around them. CONTEMPORARY QUESTIONS The WilsonGould non-debate Many historians of science and other intellectual endeavours are loath to credit the Renaissance humanists with the full significance of their contribution to the development of what we today think of as natural science. As recently as 2003, in his last book, written
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in response to Edward O. Wilsons Consilience, Stephen J. Gould devotes two full chapters to his conception of the activities of humanist encyclopedists like Conrad Gessner and his colleagues.22 Gould is attempting to counter what he sees as a fallacious emphasis in Wilsons thinking on simplistic dichotomy. But as we have seen, far from being simplistic, such conceptual structures may well be fundamental to human thought, though that remains to be analysed (and if this is correct, the same obviously holds true for Eastern thought, which has long since been bent on reconciling the oppositions one thinks of yin and yang). In fact, Goulds own book abounds in dichotomies, including that between erinaceid (conservative) and vulpine (flexible) thinking. Gould, like many others, criticises the Renaissance humanists for being mere compilers of classical information. It is indeed true that these men (for the significant humanist thinkers were men, in large part due to the hazards of childbirth, preoccupations of childcare, and consequent lack of female education) admired the classical authors whom, as I have said, they were now attempting to see for their own merits, rather than as bearers of good tidings (Vergil, as prophet of Christs really Augustus birth), or icons like The Philosopher (Aristotle, often in guises he would scarcely have recognised), or other Auctoritates, as viewed in the Middle Ages. But what is seldom understood is that the fifteenth and early sixteenth-century humanists, while they respected the learning of their ancestors, were actually sitting at their feet, not in blind worship, but in a competitive imitatio (a literary trope of both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but used differently in the two ages); they were learning from them, not just facts, but how to think critically, like the best students, with a healthy dose of doubt and with fewer teleological overlays to their logic. Their imitation, in other words, was not slavish, but creative. Gould and other critics are, in fact, seeing the humanists from our end of the telescope, rather than on the humanists own terms; they are engaged in what is called, after the youthful essay of Herbert Butterfield,23 whiggism reading the present into the past, a form of teleological thinking engaged in during the Middle Ages, and one that is all too easy to fall into (but which biologists, particularly, are classically trained to avoid, especially since Darwin). These are just the practices that the humanists themselves deplored in their medieval predecessors, and were trying hard to overcome in their own work. Lorenzo Valla, for example, had, in about 1440, exposed the medieval hoax of the so-called donation of Constantine (of earthly territories to the Papacy) on extremely solid philological and historical evidence.24 And Decembrio, Poliziano and Gessner themselves in discussing points of natural history, for example by remaining open to the possibility of the existence of certain creatures characteristics (on the basis of sailors and other travellers accounts), were actually (and explicitly) resisting the tempting illusion of adducing negative proof, since they themselves had no empirical evidence to go on. While Wilson does not address Renaissance humanism itself, he sees and argues for many similar qualities in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, and indeed others have noted the roots of the Enlightenment in the Renaissance and classical antiquity. These are the great Western ages of the preponderance of reason over the irrational, and they have slowly, by fits and starts, allowed critical thought to gain the ascendancy and to exhibit its effectiveness in the quest for knowledge about our universe. For there is indeed a dichotomy (one of many) an agon, a dialogue between reason and unreason, even when they work together, as in art and as in science (of all kinds, from
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the natural sciences to the historical). There are also continua, as we have seen, among the different types of thought. Once again, both sides of this discussion would allow us to form a unified vision of the world. Gould is (theoretically) right that there need not be conflict among the many views of the world; but Wilson is (more realistically) right that discovering the underlying physical unity of the world and perhaps of the universe (far from a simplistic vision of unity, as Gould claims, for it includes explanations of our behaviour and our morality) as sought by science can show us the way to this greater understanding and a way of preserving both ourselves and our world. Science, technology and the humanities in education The resistance to the idea of mixing the two types of education scientific and humanistic permeates Western (dualistic) society. Among its many component elements must be included what we today think of as a certain snobbism, inherent in the clash between C. P. Snow and F. R. Leavis, both scholarship students of modest backgrounds, both overcoming their backgrounds through education. We encounter a similar phenomenon in the resistance (now perhaps weakening) among scholars to the idea that technology of necessity persisted through the Middle Ages, even though it was not recognised as having intellectual content.25 A technological sense can in fact be seen as fundamental to the development of Renaissance humanist scholarship: the methods developed by Petrarch, by Valla, by Poliziano for determining the validity of a manuscript or for reconstructing a text are indeed technical skills and tools, akin to the mechanical crafts. Indeed, a good portion of science as we know it today is precisely that sort of mechanical work bricolage is essential to science. But what still seems to be hard for many to admit is that even such mechanical work represents intellectual input and development. Our image of the inventor, embodied in such figures as Thomas Newcomen, Benjamin Franklin, James Watt and Thomas Edison, when analysed, yields a goodly portion of craftsmanship and mechanical skill, alongside the intellectual. Just so, our image of the creative artist (literary, visual or auditory) encompasses both the mechanical and the intellectual. Our image of the scientist and scholar, past and present, might benefit from such a perception. In the final analysis, the bridging of these fairly pernicious gaps could be (and in some cases is being) effected in many young minds of our own times with a restoration or institution of parallel humanistic and scientific (in the broadest sense) training in our schools a matter of marked concern to all those engaged in these debates over time. As is slowly being realised today and in some countries has entered the consciousness of those who are charged with education (leading the young out of ignorance into understanding) the dichotomy between the sciences and the humanities need not indeed must not stand. NOTES
1. J. de Romilly: Pourquoi la Grce?; 1992, Paris, Ed. de Fallois. 2. See The Two Cultures: And a Second Look. An Expanded Version of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, p. 9; 1965, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press; this book was reissued with an excellent and substantial introductory study and review of the literature by Stefan Collini in 1993. Citations here are from the 1965 edition (whose pagination is kept in the Collini edition). I review it here because, while it is much cited, it is seldom read with care, and to bring out points germane to this essay.
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3. Snow does mention population growth as a result of the industrial revolution (p. 27) and even as a menace (p. 46); however in 1959 and 1965 he had great hope for humanitys ability to overcome the dire situations it often creates, though see Collini, p. lxxi (Note 2). For the effects of overpopulation, as they now can be recognised, see the telling final chapter of E. O. Wilson: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge; 1998, New York, NY, Alfred A. Knopf. Some of both Snows and Wilsons arguments are discussed in S. J. Gould: The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magisters Pox: Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities; 2003, New York, NY, Three Rivers Press, written rapidly at the end of his life. Gould would not have agreed with my emphasis on agon; Wilson, I believe, would: see the final sections of this essay. 4. These were collected in a little cited volume, P. Padhye (ed.): Two Cultures: A Discussion; 1960, New Delhi, Congress for Cultural Freedom. See also J. H. Plumb (ed.): Crisis in the Humanities; 1964, Baltimore, MD, Penguin, and, for a far broader historical context of the tradition than the title implies, D. K. Cornelius and E. St Vincent (ed.): Cultures in Conflict: Perspectives on the SnowLeavis Controversy; 1964, Chicago, IL, Scott, Foresman & Co. (including, at pp. 2427, the article by Anthony West cited below). For further bibliography (to 1999) see the website http://academics.vmi.edu/gen_ed/two_cultures.html. 5. F. R. Leavis: Two cultures? The significance of Lord Snow, in Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope, pp. 3974; 1972, London, Chatto & Windus (first published in the Spectator, 9 March 1962). Lionel Trillings assessment of the two sides appeared in the University Quarterly, 1962, (17) and in that same year in Commentary as A comment on the Leavis-Snow controversy (not seen); a version also appears in L. Trilling: Beyond Culture: Essays on Literature and Learning, pp. 126154; 1965, New York, NY/London, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 6. T. H. Huxley: Science and culture, in his Science and Education: Essays, pp. 134159; 1910, New York, NY, Appleton. In the same year, 1880, Huxley was developing his theories of monophylism and polyphylism, regarding the necessity or not for descent of related species from one species: see G. G. Simpson: Principles of Animal Taxonomy, pp. 120125; 1961, New York, NY, Columbia University Press. Over twenty years earlier, he had hypothesised the existence of an intermediate form between reptiles and birds, confirmed in 1861 with the discovery of a fossilised Archaeopteryx: E. Mayr: What Evolution Is, pp. 25, 69; 2001, New York, NY, Basic Books. 7. Arnolds original Rede Lecture, Literature and science, was published in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review in August 1882, pp. 216230; the version he gave numerous times in the United States appears in R. H. Super (ed.): The Complete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold, Vol. 10, pp. 5373, with notes at pp. 462471 and 546554; 1974, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Press. 8. J. W. Lorimer: A neglected aspect of the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes, Modern Language Review, 1956, 51, 179185. 9. For example, E. S. Shaffer (ed.): The Third Culture: Literature and Science; 1998, Berlin/New York, NY, Walter de Gruyter; R. E. Lee and I. Wallerstein (ed.): Overcoming the Two Cultures: Science versus the Humanities in the World System; 2004, Boulder, CO/London, Paradigm. The online publication Edge: The Third Culture (www.edge.org), edited by John Brockman, postulates articulate scientists as bridging the gap between humanists and scientists, with some reason. 10. One thinks immediately of course of the work of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and others, and of the Sokal hoax in which a nonsensical article was accepted by a journal in the social sciences (see http: //physics.nyu.edu/~as2/). On such matters, see E. O. Wilsons lucid, wise analysis in Consilience, pp. 44 48 (Note 3); Stephen Jay Gould also broaches the subject in The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magisters Pox at pp. 99102 (Note 3). It can be argued that such intellectual tendencies opened the door to todays contentions over faith and scepticism already mentioned. 11. See Reeves Conclusion in O. Pecere and M. D. Reeve (ed.): Formative Stages of Classical Traditions: Latin Texts from Antiquity to the Renaissance (proceedings of a conference held at Erice, 1622 October 1993, as the 6th Course of the International School for the Study of Written Records), pp. 497511, at p. 499; 1995, Spoleto, Centro Italiano di Studi sullAlto Medioevo. On cladism in biological taxonomy, see E. Mayr: Biological classification: toward a synthesis of opposing methodologies, Science, 1981, 214, 510516, reprinted in E. Sober (ed.): Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology: An Anthology, pp. 646662; 1984, Cambridge, MA/London, MIT Press; E. Mayr: What Evolution Is, pp. 55, 133, 167, 284 (Note 6); and G. G. Simpson: Principles, p. 201 and passim (Note 6). 12. On Renaissance humanism, see P. O. Kristeller: Renaissance Thought: The Classic, Scholastic and Humanistic Strains; 1961, New York, NY, Harper Torchbooks; and Renaissance Thought II: Papers on Humanism and the
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Arts (esp. chapter IX, The modern system of the arts, pp. 163227); 1965, New York, NY, Harper Torchbooks; these essays have been published in various loci, both before and since these two books. See J. A. Weisheipl: Classification of the sciences in medieval thought, in Nature and Motion in the Middle Ages, (ed. W. Carroll), pp. 203237; 1985, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America. See E. Garin: Introduction, in Italian Humanism: Philosophy and Civic Life in the Renaissance, (trans. P. Munz), pp. 117 and passim; 1965, New York, NY, Harper & Row (based on the second Italian edition of 1958); R. Weiss: The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity, 2nd edn (with new bibliography and index), (ed. R. Olitsky Rubinstein), pp. 203207 and passim; 1988, Oxford, Blackwell; and L. Edelstein: Andreas Vesalius, the Humanist, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1943, 14, 547561. E. Mayr: The Growth of Biological Thought, pp. 3032; 1982, Cambridge, MA, Belknap. On these questions, see my The Renaissance rediscovery of the Classical approaches to the world: reflections on history and science, then and now, in Building the Past / Konstruktion der eigenen Vergangenheit, (ed. R. Suntrup and J. R. Veenstra), pp. 331 and references therein; 2006, Frankfurt am Main/Berlin/New York, NY, Peter Lang. See C. M. Pyle: Renaissance humanism and science, Res publica litterarum, 1991, XIV, 197202 (published simultaneously in Italy in Studi umanistici piceni, 1991, XI, 197202); Historical and philological method in Angelo Poliziano and method in science: practice and theory, in Poliziano nel suo tempo, pp. 371386; 1996, Florence, Cesati; History as science? The question revisited with reference to the life sciences and Renaissance humanism, forthcoming in Intellectual News, 2008, 16. A. Sammut: Unfredo duca di Gloucester e gli umanisti italiani; 1980, Padua, Antenore; C. M. Pyle: The art and science of Renaissance natural history: Thomas of Cantimpr, Pier Candido Decembrio, Conrad Gessner, and Teodoro Ghisi in Vatican Library MS Urb. lat. 276, Viator, 1996, 27, 265321; also Pier Candido Decembrio and Rome: his hand and the Vatican manuscript of his treatise on natural history (MS Urb. lat. 276), in Milan and Lombardy in the Renaissance: Essays in Cultural History, pp. 3144; 1997, Rome, La Fenice. And the revival was, again, through comparison with the findings in the classical works. See A. Arber: Herbals, their Origin and Evolution: A Chapter in the History of Botany, 14701670, 3rd edn, (intro. and annot. W. T. Stearn); 1986, Cambridge/New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 1986; K. M. Reeds: Botany in Medieval and Renaissance Universities; 1991, New York, NY, Garland. See the interesting and detailed recent study by Marie-Claude Dprez-Masson, Technique, mot et image. Le De re metallica dAgricola; 2006, Turnhout, Brepols, and the literature cited. See also G. Viertel, U. Bemmann, S. Pfalzer and U. Sacher (ed.): Georgius Agricola und seine Familie. Dokumente, mit einem biografischen Aufsatz von Hans Prescher; 1994, Chemnitz: for the father Gregor, p. 7 (citing F. Resch in Neues Jahrbuch der Mineralogie, Geologie u. Palontologie, Mh. Abt. A, 1944, 114128, not seen); F. Naumann (ed.): Georgius Agricola 500 Jahre; 1994, Basel/Boston, MA/Berlin, Birkhuser; H. Prescher: Georgius Agricola Persnlichkeit und Wirken fr den Bergbau und das Httenwesen des 16. Jahrhunderts. Kommentarband zum Faksimiledruck Vom Bergkwerck XII Bcher, Basel 1557; 1985, Leipzig; and (in eleven volumes) H. Prescher and G. Math (ed.): Georgius Agricola. Ausgewhlte Werke; 195592, Berlin. [An article by my late friend, Nicoletta Morello, found after consigning this text, bears out my arguments: Agricola and the birth of the mineralogical sciences in Italy in the sixteenth century, in The Origins of Geology in Italy, (ed. G. B. Vai and W. G. E. Caldwell), pp. 2330; 2006 Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America.] C. M. Pyle: Conrad Gessner on the spelling of his name, Archives of Natural History, 2000, 27, 175186; further bibliography in H. Wellisch: Conrad Gessner: A Bio-Bibliography; 1984, Zug, Interdocumentation Company. C. M. Pyle: Some late sixteenth-century depictions of the Aurochs (Bos primigenius Bojanus, extinct 1627): new evidence from Vatican MS Urb. lat. 276, Archives of Natural History, 1994, 21, 275288; here, p. 284, with reference to Gessner, Historia Animalium, Liber II, Zrich, Froschauer, 1554, Appendix, p. 6. On Agricola, see M. C. Dprez-Masson: Technique, mot et image, pp. 2627 (Note 19). S. J. Gould: The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magisters Pox, chapters 3 and 4 (Note 3). I discuss these questions in detail in a forthcoming book on the development of scientific methodologies in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries; for now see the articles cited, passim, above. H. Butterfield: The Whig Interpretation of History; 1965, New York, NY, 1965 (first published 1931). This practice is found even in the work of prominent students of Renaissance humanism. See C. B. Coleman: Introduction, in The Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine; 1993, Toronto, University of Toronto Press; L. Valla: La donation de Constantin (sur la donation de Constantin, lui faussement attribue et mensongre), (ed. and trans. J.-B. Giard); 1993, Paris, Belles Lettres (also the interesting

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preface by Carlo Ginzburg); L. Valla: On the Donation of Constantine, (trans. G. W. Bowersock); 2007, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. 25. See J. A. Weisheipl: Classification of the sciences (Note 13); P. O. Long: Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance; 2001, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press; T. B. Settle: La Storia e la Filosofia della Scienza, della Tecnologia e della Medicina: Una Selezione di Siti Web e di altre Fonti The History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine: A Selection of Web and other Sources, www.imss.firenze.it/~tsettle, 19942007.

Before she turned to the intellectual and cultural history of the Renaissance (PhD, Columbia University), Cynthia M. Pyles first degree and early professional experience were in biology (Communications Biophysics Laboratory of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and Department of Biology, MIT). Since receiving her doctorate she has been successively a researcher in the CNRS, Paris, the commissioned author of the book-length study accompanying the facsimile edition of Vatican MS Urb. lat. 276, and an Associate of the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University; from Harvard, she went on to found the Renaissance Studies Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and has held residential fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, as well as an individual grant from the National Science Foundation. She is currently a Research Affiliate of New York University (c.m.pyle@nyu.edu).

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