ABSTRACT: Humanistic studies cultivate types of conceptual fluency and modes of awareness important to thought concerning values. Not all knowledge is scientific knowledge. There is genuine comprehension of some valuative matters – they are not all to be interpreted in expressive or subjective terms. Education in the humanities can encourage value-relevant types of discernment, awareness, and articulateness in uniquely effective ways. Though important kinds of thought concerning values may lack formal, theoretical elaboration they involve genuine standards of intellectual responsibility. Engagement with the humanities does not ensure development of sound valuative thought and judgment – nothing ensures it – but can have a crucial role in shaping it. Moreover, intellectual and moral imagination should not be constrained by boundaries of academic specialization. Specialization has several merits but it can motivate inappropriately reductionist claims and theoretical over-extension. Often, sound normative understanding is not dependent upon explicit theoretical justification or a specific inquiry’s explanatory idiom.
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, v. 11:3