Resisting chaos: the power of the humanities as a problem‐solving system

Resisting chaos: the power of the humanities as a problem‐solving system Purpose – The purpose of this essay is to argue the importance of the humanities as a problem‐solving “system”, one which has for thousands of years provided humankind with the tools to make reasoned decisions about complex problems in an ever‐changing world. Design/methodology/approach – This essay places the idea of complexity within a historical and philosophical context. Findings – The rise of new technologies has resulted in the notion that human beings are no longer capable of addressing complex problems. Too dogmatic a reliance upon technology, however, instead of leading to clarity, can lead to chaos and confusion. Social implications – One of the few remaining “big structures” which retains a significant degree of public trust is higher education. If we continue to devalue the one area of study – the humanities – which has as its ultimate purpose precisely the analysis of “complex issues” – in favor of quasi‐human systemic solutions or an alteration of the “epistemology” of education, we will surely render ourselves irrelevant. Originality/value – This is an original approach and an original piece of work. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png On the Horizon Emerald Publishing

Resisting chaos: the power of the humanities as a problem‐solving system

On the Horizon, Volume 19 (2): 7 – May 17, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1074-8121
DOI
10.1108/10748121111138344
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this essay is to argue the importance of the humanities as a problem‐solving “system”, one which has for thousands of years provided humankind with the tools to make reasoned decisions about complex problems in an ever‐changing world. Design/methodology/approach – This essay places the idea of complexity within a historical and philosophical context. Findings – The rise of new technologies has resulted in the notion that human beings are no longer capable of addressing complex problems. Too dogmatic a reliance upon technology, however, instead of leading to clarity, can lead to chaos and confusion. Social implications – One of the few remaining “big structures” which retains a significant degree of public trust is higher education. If we continue to devalue the one area of study – the humanities – which has as its ultimate purpose precisely the analysis of “complex issues” – in favor of quasi‐human systemic solutions or an alteration of the “epistemology” of education, we will surely render ourselves irrelevant. Originality/value – This is an original approach and an original piece of work.

Journal

On the HorizonEmerald Publishing

Published: May 17, 2011

Keywords: Chaos theory; Complexity theory; Higher education; Problem solving

References

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