The humanities include disciplines as diverse as literary theory, linguistics, history, film studies, theology, and philosophy. Do these various fields of study have anything in common that distinguishes them from, say, physics or sociology? The tripartite division between the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities may seem self-evident, but it only arose during the course of the 19th century and is still contested today.
'History and Philosophy of the Humanities: An Introduction' presents a reasoned overview of the conceptual and historical backgrounds of the humanities. In four sections, it discusses:
- the most influential views on scientific knowledge from Aristotle to Thomas Kuhn;
- the birth of the modern humanities and its relation to the natural and social sciences;
- the various methodological schools and conceptual issues in the humanities;
- several themes that set the agenda for current debates in the humanities: critiques of modernity; gender, sexuality and identity; and postcolonialism.
Thus, it provides students in the humanities with a comprehensive understanding of the backgrounds of their own discipline, its relation to other disciplines, and the state of the art of the humanities at large.