Ways of Seeing: Reforming the Humanities

Co-presented with Griffith REVIEW and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

7 April, 2011

Drawing on his essay in Griffith REVIEW 31: Ways of Seeing philospher John Armstrong argues there is an urgent need to halt the humanities’ retreat into the academy and to find new ways to assert the wisdom of philosophy, history, literature and art in public life.

Should the humanities continue to be treated like the natural sciences, with professional rewards accruing to an elite of experts in conversation only with their peers? And does the old gulf between the two cultures – science and humanities – limit our ability to address complex global and local issues?

Sydney Ideas and Griffith REVIEW present Associate Professor Armstrong in conversation with Professors Paul Griffiths from the University of Sydney, discussing ideas for ‘reformation and renaissance in the humanities.’ They consider the problem and reflect on ways that might help ensure a renaissance that values the humanities more highly.

Moderated by Professor Ann Curthoys, University of Sydney.

John Armstrong

John Armstrong is Senior Advisor, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of several books on art, love and beauty, including most recently In Search of Civilisation (Penguin, 2009).

Professor Paul Griffiths

Paul Griffiths is a philosopher of science with a focus on biology and psychology. He is University Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney and also Professor of Philosophy of Science at the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society at the University of Exeter, UK.

Professor Ann Curthoys

Professor Ann Curthoys is an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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Co-presented with Griffith REVIEW