Why are Humanities Courses Required For University Students?

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Why are Humanities Courses Required For University Students?

Post by Red » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am

So, as I am going to University next year, I have decided on taking majoring in the sciences (definitely engineering too, I'm planning on bioengineering, but we'll see).

My brother is majoring in Civil Engineering, but he still has to take courses like philosophy, literature, writing, etc. So did my parents, who majored in Electrical Engineering and Pharmaceuticals.
But why? All it does is add cost to tuition, and is a pretty big distraction from the more important studies, creating less study time for the things that actually need studying. So why do they do it?

Of course, I don't want to knock the arts and humanities altogether. I do think that the scientists and doctors are more important of course, but we need a few artists and historians in society for social progress.

But I always viewed studying the humanities in school or college is generally a waste of time, since it's probably more cost effective to study them at home by buying the necessary materials, and even joining some sort of art related forum, where you can easily come into contact with people both skilled in the subject, as well as other learners.

The sciences however, due to being objective in nature, require someone who is skilled in the field in order to learn it, since there is very little, if any margin of error, and a lot of the equipment necessary can be very expensive for the average person.

But anyway, any possible answers for this anomaly?
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:02 am

Red wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am
But why? All it does is add cost to tuition, and is a pretty big distraction from the more important studies, creating less study time for the things that actually need studying. So why do they do it?
The goal is to have a more well rounded graduate. You don't need it, but most people are pretty philosophically illiterate, and might not ever be exposed to ideas like these if not for the mandatory classes.
Red wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am
But I always viewed studying the humanities in school or college is generally a waste of time, since it's probably more cost effective to study them at home by buying the necessary materials, and even joining some sort of art related forum, where you can easily come into contact with people both skilled in the subject, as well as other learners.
Yes, and if you're a self starter that makes sense. But what about all of those people who wouldn't bother?
We don't want the scientists of tomorrow to have no grasp on ethics at all.
Of course, some of the humanities options are less useful than others...

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Post by carnap » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:10 am

Red wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:13 am
Of course, I don't want to knock the arts and humanities altogether. I do think that the scientists and doctors are more important of course, but we need a few artists and historians in society for social progress.
The entire fabric of society is rooted in various philosophical issues. How we distribute wealth, our legal system, our ethics and culture and so cannot be determined scientifically.

Humanities courses are required because they are an important part of advanced societies. Self study is problematic for two reasons. Firstly people with expertise aren't standing around waiting for people to ask them questions and people's self-study is driven by self-selection. People tend to read what confirms what they already believe where as the job of a good humanities professor is expose students to various ideas.
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Post by Red » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:59 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:02 am
You don't need it, but most people are pretty philosophically illiterate, and might not ever be exposed to ideas like these if not for the mandatory classes.
But if nobody needs it, is it of much importance?
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:02 am
Yes, and if you're a self starter that makes sense. But what about all of those people who wouldn't bother?
We don't want the scientists of tomorrow to have no grasp on ethics at all.
Of course, some of the humanities options are less useful than others...
So wouldn't it make more sense to just have useful humanities courses? Courses in ethics that separate pseudo-ethics from real ones (deontology and consequentialism) would make a lot of sense, both for use in science and day to day life, but we've already established how flawed academic philosophy is.

Do people in Med School have to do this? Or is the Hippocratic Oath Sufficient? What if like in Germany in the 20th Century when they downgraded it to an optional Hippocratic Suggestion?

However, an effective class in ethics oughta be of some value. The same can't be said for Creative Writing or Ancient History. When are they going to outlaw this shit? That reminds me, if we are going to make STEM Programs free, would the tax dollars cover the costs of these courses as well?

Anyway, I passed my APUSH test, so that's one fewer humanities class I have to take in college.

What would you say are good ideas for minors?
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Post by Red » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:08 pm

carnap wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:10 am
The entire fabric of society is rooted in various philosophical issues. How we distribute wealth, our legal system, our ethics and culture and so cannot be determined scientifically.
Or can they?
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Those are more social science-related issues, which need some serious improvement if we want to increase their usage. They've done okay for us so far (democracy, regulated capitalism), but things could be better.
carnap wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:10 am
Humanities courses are required because they are an important part of advanced societies. Self study is problematic for two reasons. Firstly people with expertise aren't standing around waiting for people to ask them questions and people's self-study is driven by self-selection. People tend to read what confirms what they already believe whereas the job of a good humanities professor is expose students to various ideas.
Well of course, it depends on the humanities subject. If you're referring to the arts, then this doesn't really apply. Just go to your local Michaels, buy paints and shit, turn on Bob Ross, and you're good to go. I think you're mixing up the humanities with the social sciences.
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:32 am

Red wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:59 pm
But if nobody needs it, is it of much importance?
You, specifically, as in Red. You have more education on the topic already than most undergrads.
Red wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:59 pm
So wouldn't it make more sense to just have useful humanities courses?
Yes, in a perfect curriculum.

Not sure about minors, depends on your school and interests.

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Post by carnap » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 am

Red wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:08 pm
Well of course, it depends on the humanities subject. If you're referring to the arts, then this doesn't really apply. Just go to your local Michaels, buy paints and shit, turn on Bob Ross, and you're good to go. I think you're mixing up the humanities with the social sciences.
My comment was about the humanities and specifically philosophy. The social sciences don't address the topics I mentioned. Though to some degree its difficult to separate the social sciences from humanities.

What we call "the arts" is really a mix of two separate things. On one hand you have vocational like programs that teach specific skills like playing instruments, composition, etc and then you have arts as philosophical expression. Arts in the former sense doesn't apply to my comments but it does in the latter sense.
Red wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:59 pm
So wouldn't it make more sense to just have useful humanities courses? Courses in ethics that separate pseudo-ethics from real ones (deontology and consequentialism) would make a lot of sense, both for use in science and day to day life, but we've already established how flawed academic philosophy is.
Perhaps....just perhaps you should withhold judgments about what you think are "flawed" until you've actually obtained at least a basic education in the field?

But by all means, major in engineering. You won't have to to bother yourself with silly things like philosophy or thinking too much in general and you can just do the same shit day-after-day for 30~40 years and then hopefully retire.
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Post by Red » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:24 am

carnap wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 am
My comment was about the humanities and specifically philosophy. The social sciences don't address the topics I mentioned. Though to some degree its difficult to separate the social sciences from humanities.
I'm pretty sure they do.
carnap wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 am
Perhaps....just perhaps you should withhold judgments about what you think are "flawed" until you've actually obtained at least a basic education in the field?
I have. I'm not sure about you though.
carnap wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 am
But by all means, major in engineering. You won't have to to bother yourself with silly things like philosophy or thinking too much in general and you can just do the same shit day-after-day for 30~40 years and then hopefully retire.
Oh, I forgot that you know what makes people happy (by the way, I implied I wasn't just going to major in that). Even if I'm miserable, I'd still be contributing something useful (something you likely have little experience with).

I think I know what's going on here. Carnap majored in the humanities/social sciences, and realized the lack of utility with it, but is not honest enough to admit that to himself. So when he sees people (specifically science majors) ridiculing the Humanities and whatnot, he finds it personally insulting, so therefore, has to put them down so he doesn't feel as bad about himself. That's just a guess though.
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
-Lyndon Baines Johnson

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