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A Summary of Valerie Strauss' Essay: Why We Still Need to Study the Humanities in a Stem World

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A Summary of Valerie Strauss’ “Why we still need to study the humanities in a STEM world”

By Nicole Z. Llantos

The issue between the liberal arts and STEM has been creating an argument between people of different sectors. Having a degree in liberal arts is underestimated while the period of big data and technology is thriving.  The article, “What Can I Do With My Liberal Arts Degree?” published by a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics magazine paved way for the value of liberal arts education be commended. George Anders’ new book entitled “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education” makes a point that the more we engage with the digital society, the higher demand it is for us to include our humane judgment and involvement to our digital lives.  However, a recent study by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences found out that the number of students who take up bachelor’s degree in the humanities have decreased compared to years ago. In connection, Gerald Greenberg, a linguistics expert laid out arguments regarding the importance of liberal arts education. He claimed that humanities have provisions of engaging a person to various ways of thinking, analyzing, and critiquing, which are all fundamentals of development be it economically, socially, etc. By studying liberal arts education, graduates can acquire a body of knowledge and ways of becoming productive, empathic, and mature members of the society. The liberal arts is comparative to Tao, the origin of everything in Taoism (ancient Chinese philosophical system). In this context, the liberal arts is seen as a foundation as well of the other fields like natural sciences and math (though they are not considered part of it) since understanding is a basic need for learning any subject. Yet the humanities do not have a concrete definition yet. With the pouring insights from people, it becomes confusing to the extent of making it appear irrelevant and unworthy for further investigations. So instead, let us know what it does rather than knowing what it is. Studying the humanities open opportunities for one to examine the reality of the working-world setting, to understand what we and others are, and cope with our morality tendencies. One can also build relationships with his environment and develop sensitivity towards other people. Knowing that everyday we make decisions, it is upright essential to use our ability to process information and come up with something good out of it. STEM is useful indeed, however, the humanities provide more diverse range of concepts and various ways of viewing societal issues. Aside from searching what is empirical, it explores the totality of humanity. In other words, humanistic thinking goes beyond problem solving; making it a subject of importance to the world.

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