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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2023
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Book description

There is in certain circles a widely held belief that the only proper kind of knowledge is scientific knowledge. This belief often runs parallel to the notion that legitimate knowledge is obtained when a scientist follows a rigorous investigative procedure called the 'scientific method'. Chris Haufe challenges this idea. He shows that what we know about the so-called scientific method rests fundamentally on the use of finely tuned human judgments directed toward certain questions about the natural world. He suggests that this dependence on judgment in fact reveals deep affinities between scientific knowledge and another, equally important, sort of comprehension: that of humanistic creative endeavour. His wide-ranging and stimulating new book uncovers the unexpected unity underlying all our efforts – whether scientific or arts-based – to understand human experience. In so doing, it makes a vital contribution to broader conversation about the value of the humanities in an increasingly STEM-saturated educational culture.


‘Constantly interesting and engagingly written, this timely book is destined to generate a lot of interest, both inside and outside academia.'

Peter Vickers - Durham University

‘Many books denounce or praise the humanities. Only a few tell us how they work. In this elegant, witty, sometimes paradoxical book, informed by deep knowledge of the history of science, Chris Haufe shows that the humanities can and do produce powerful knowledge. He also argues that they could create much more of it if scholars and funders understood how communities and disciplines frame productive inquiries.’

Anthony Grafton - Princeton University

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