Don’t devalue the insight

Australia“The question ‘What are the humanities for?’ needn’t be asked in a voice that insinuates the true answer is a humiliating admission: ‘Not much, really.’ It can and should be asked with a sincere desire for illumination. Our overview of what the humanities are for will have serious implications for how they are studied, how they are funded and how their success – or failure – is assessed. Kim Carr gave voice to one possible answer in a speech a few months ago on the art of innovation. The Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister took the view that the humanities ‘make a terrible mistake when they claim support on the basis of their commercial value. Whatever they may be worth in the marketplace, it is their intrinsic value we should treasure them for. We should support these disciplines because they give us pleasure, knowledge, meaning and inspiration. No other pay-off is required’ …” (more)

[John Armstrong, The Australian, 22 April]

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