A Mathematical Look at the 7 Liberal Arts as "Humanities" - Abstract

Stephen Eberhart
Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science (2001)
Pages 346–346


What are the "arts," as opposed to the "tech" subjects? Until re-arranged by the '94 earthquake, the C.S.U. Northridge campus presented a fairly paradigmatic lay-out illustrating the common perception of this distinction: The music, drama, dance, and graphic arts depts. with their respective listening and viewing spaces were all on the (sunny) south side of campus with ready public access, whereas the engineering and computer science depts. were relegated to the (cold) north side with no public access roads. I ask students in my Math. Through the Lib. Arts course (Math 131) to look up "art" and "tech" in the American Heritage Dictionary and discover their true meanings. Both words mean a craft activity of putting things together, Latin ars as joinery ("articulate," "carpentry," "harmony") and Greek techne as weavery ("textile"). A non-distinction!