Publication 8038

Luhmann N. (1990) Complexity and meaning. Chapter 3 in: Essays on self-reference. Columbia University Press, New York: 80–85. Fulltext at
Excerpt: It has been the norm in the past to insist on differences between the science and the humanities, or Naturwissenschaften and Geisteswissenschaften. This is, in part, a reaction to the marvellous successes of the “real sciences.” If the humanities cannot show similar results, then, it is assumed that it is because they have a different identity. The famous expression, the “two cultures” – similar to that of the “two nations” of capitalists and workers of the nineteenth century – has become a habit of thinking, backed by collegial respect of the sort one has for something that one does not understand. Of course, we also have a unity of science movement, but this is a reaction to the previous split of the intellectual field and, by the very fact of being only a reaction, the unity remains weak and the split strong. We live upon difference, not upon unity.

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