Humanities

Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with divinity and referred to what is now called classics, the main area of secular study in universities at the time. Today, the humanities are more frequently defined as any fields of study outside of professional training, mathematics, and the natural and social sciences.[1]

The philosopher Plato – Roman copy of a work by Silanion for the Academia in Athens (c. 370 BC)

The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element[2]—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences,[2] yet, unlike the sciences, it has no general history.[3] The humanities include the study of ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, archaeology[dubious ], anthropology[dubious ], human geography[dubious ], law, religion,[4] and art.

Scholars in the humanities are "humanities scholars" or humanists.[5] The term "humanist" also describes the philosophical position of humanism, which some "antihumanist" scholars in the humanities reject. The Renaissance scholars and artists are also known as humanists. Some secondary schools offer humanities classes usually consisting of literature, global studies and art.

Human disciplines like history, folkloristics, and cultural anthropology mainly use the comparative method[6] and comparative research. Other methods used in the humanities include hermeneutics and source criticism.


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