- A Comparative Framework for Studying the Histories of the Humanities and Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 106 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
- Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
While the humanities and the sciences have a closely connected history, there are no general histories that bring the two fields together on an equal footing. This paper argues that there is a level at which some humanistic and scientific disciplines can be brought under a common denominator and compared. This is at the level of underlying methods, especially at the level of formalisms and rule systems used by different disciplines. The essay formally compares linguistics and computer science by noting that the same grammar formalism was used in the 1950s for describing both human and programming languages. Additionally, it examines the influence of philology on molecular biology, and vice versa, by recognizing that the tree-formalism and rule system used for text reconstruction was also employed in DNA genetics. It also shows that rule systems for source criticism in history are used in forensic science, evidence-based medicine, and jurisprudence. This paper thus opens up a new comparative approach within which the histories of the humanities and the sciences can be examined on a common level.
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