Our World

Scientific reasoning is on based repeatedly testing and refining theories.  In the pursuit of the objective truth, the singular reality of a solution, academics and scientists generally curtail their own biases.  This action attempts to eliminate subjective truths, realities that we believe in but are not always true.  With mathematics and the sciences this system works out well.  In the liberal arts these efforts can inhibit academic progress.

The Problem

These liberal arts confound the limits of mathematics and empirical reasoning.   While scientists file case studies and field reports those in the liberal arts compile ethnographies, qualitative research design aimed at exploring cultural phenomena.  However, cultural forces are immeasurable.  I believe with the liberal arts there is no objective truths, only subjective truths.  I reason that while a math equation will only have one answer there are a thousand unique and personal interpretations to even the simplest of poems.  All of these interpretations all equally valid, on the condition they can be supported, because there is no single answer for questions of culture.

Issues arise with the liberal arts; they are using the methods of the sciences to attempt to explain issues which confound those very sciences.   This leaves academics in quite the pickle, as they hurt the findings of their works in their attempts to remain unbiased.

The Solution (Sometimes)

The autoethnography : this adaptation of the ethnography takes the qualitative rigor of the original while allowing for the unique viewpoint and experiences of the author to replace desensitized studies.  While this would be laughable to apply to the fields of math and science ( 2+2=5 because I feel it should) it works quite well in the liberal arts. Many of the fields were formed to fulfill and debate opinions birthed from a cultural yearning.  There is no way to empirically calculate the value a degree in English, Women’s Studies, or Art, but culture would grow quite stale if even one of these actors was missing.  Bridling the autoethnography gives every liberal arts academic the best tools to express themselves.  In doing so they will better be able to capture culture and we will all be able to appreciate it better thanks to them.