The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
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2013 Reprint of 1959 Edition. Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. This is the publication of the influential 1959 Rede Lecture by British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow. Its thesis was that "the intellectual life of the whole of western society" was split into the titular two cultures - namely the sciences and the humanities - and that this was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems. Published in book form, Snow's lecture was widely read and discussed on both sides of the Atlantic, leading him to write a 1963 follow-up, "The Two Cultures: And a Second Look: An Expanded Version of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution."
account of recent advances in astronomy or the latest biography of Elizabeth I primarily in our capacities as immunologists or macro-economists. One of the hazards of academic life is the way its ethos and organisation encourages us to exaggerate the power and importance of these disciplinary affiliations to the neglect of other, often deeper, ties and allegiances. There is, similarly, not just one form of a possible ‘common culture’. Commonality takes various forms, and we need to think in terms
I said earlier that this cultural divide is not just an English phenomenon: it exists all over the western world. But it probably seems at its sharpest in England, for two reasons. One is our fanatical belief in educational specialisation, which is much more deeply ingrained in us than in any country in the world, west or east. The other is our tendency to let our social forms crystallise. This tendency appears to get stronger, not weaker, the more we iron out economic inequalities: and this is
this. As I have already said, I think the most useful thing I can now do is to have another look at what I originally wrote: to look at it in the light of what has been said about it, for, against, and at right angles; and to do so with the help of new scientific, sociological and historical knowledge which, as research proceeds, should help, at least on a part of the problem, to provide not an opinion but an answer. §2 The statements in the lecture were as simple as I could make them.
regrettable.48 Dostoevsky lived in society; his diary was influential, and acted as the voice of the ultra-conservatives, to whom he himself in secret acted as a kind of psychological adviser. Thus I have not a social idea in common with him. If I had been his contemporary, he would have tried to get me put in gaol. And yet I know him to be a great writer, and I know that, not with detached admiration, but with a feeling much warmer. So do present day Russians know it. Their response is much the
in the previous generation, H.G. Wells. In fact, Snow’s early admiration for Wells provides one key to understanding the dynamics of the ‘two cultures’ controversy. A particularly revealing piece of evidence is the review of Wells’s Experiment in Autobiography which Snow published in The Cambridge Review in 1934. Snow made clear that he admired Wells as ‘a great writer’ and ‘a remarkable man’, sympathising with his ‘urge for a planned world’, but he also indicated that he was irritated by the