Bill Benzon has posted at The Valve his reflections upon a recent article by Geoffrey Harpham ("Science and the Theft of Humanity"). Harpham has many lines that will sound familiar from the debates that have unfolded at this blog (e.g. "While humanistic scholars have been presuming core facts about human nature, human capacities and human being, scientists have been getting to work"). Harpham's conclusion:
We stand today at a critical juncture not just in the history of disciplines but of human self-understanding, one that presents remarkable and unprecedented opportunities for thinkers of all descriptions. A rich, deep and extended conversation between humanists and scientists on the question of the human could have implications well beyond the academy. It could result in the rejuvenation of many disciplines, and even in a reconfiguration of disciplines themselves—in short, a new golden age.
No doubt, but first we have to get to it. The (in)famous structuralism symposium at Hopkins back in the 1960s had similar aims. We’ve got more interdiciplinary centers now than we did back then, but the same old departmental structures still run things. The ground plan is still the one we inherited from 19th century Berlin.
I’d like to see it happen, I’ve been waiting 30 years, I’m not holding my breath.
The unfolding comments also make good reading.