The Humanities vs The Sciences

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The sciences vs humanities debate may be as old as education itself, and there is a need to see the actual reasoning behind this. The Humanities have been depicted as lees important than hard sciences for a long time. A vivid example of this are the news in 2015 about Japanese government forcing higher education institutions to limit the provision of social sciences and humanities courses to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs” (Grove, 2015, p. 1).

Certain favouritism trends in the field of higher education are quite obvious, and tend to shift in order to accommodate the needs of the market. That was a move aimed at the improvement of an economic situation of Japan, which may be misplaced, but is clearly influenced by the capitalist society and its construction of values. Often these areas of education are the first ones to receive financial cutbacks and attacks of the government (Hendricks, 2017).

However, there is a different standpoint which emphasises the importance of the humanities education for a people who will be “able to function as democratic citizens in a pluralistic, modern, and globalized, society” (Hendricks, 2017, p. 1). While the author does not depict sciences as of any less importance, she argues for the importance of humanities and arts for the society.

This shows that the diversity of interests, which different people have calls for a wide variety approaches in education, as well as equal treatment for the various spheres with a critical analysis of why one may be valued over the other at a certain point of time. And in a fast-moving and dynamic world in which we live now, limiting education to one specialised sphere impairs the ability of humankind to develop and progress organically in many various areas of human activities.

Have you ever thought why are hard sciences valued more than arts and humanities?



Grove, J. (2015). Social sciences and humanities faculties ‘to close’ in Japan after ministerial intervention. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

Hendricks, S. (2017). Need Another Use for a Liberal Arts Education? How about Learning to Be a Citizen? Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

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8 thoughts on “The Humanities vs The Sciences

    1. Thank you for the suggestion, the description sounds very interesting and offers a perspective I had not previously considered fully.


  1. Dear Sagida,

    This topic about comparison between science subjects and humanities was always interesting for me. So, thank you for raising this issue! I think that the results of hard sciences are more visible for societies, rather than new discoveries in the fields of humanities and arts. Moreover, I think that hard sciences are often associated with the improvement of our lives and of course with good money. For these reasons, sciences often take higher positions than humanities. However, without humanities and arts people will stop their intellectual and cultural development. So, it is important to give enough attention to science, but never forget about humanities and arts.


  2. Alas, in the current political climate money is everything. Mind you, though, there are different kinds of arts and humanities, and not all of them are undervalued. Architects, for example, are among the top 10 best-paid jobs in the UK now. And I am sure courses in design are now quite popular.

    It does seem unfair, but it makes sense: why would you train a lot of writers and artists when you have a shortage of engineers. Besides, you don’t need to study art at university to appreciate it, or even to produce it. You can be an engineer and still take interest in literature, art and music.


  3. I believe every field of inquiry is crucial in its own way. Arts and humanities are as important as a STEM field. In this sense, I am inclined to favour the approach of Soviet system, where there was no clear-cut boundaries between these two major academic disciplines. Both were categorized as ‘sciences’, so STEM was known as ‘exact sciences’ (tochnye nauki) and social sciences and humanities were called ‘human sciences’ (gumanitarnye nauki).
    Apar from it, these two academic domains are so different and as such, one simply can not compare them. It is like comparing apple trees and cherry trees: both are trees, but each stands unique, and both serve different purposes.


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