Letters to the Editor

Letter: Humanities courses don’t teach humanity

Thursday, February 2, 2012


To the Editor:


Jared Moffat ’13 talks about the dangers of shunning the humanities in favor of fields like science, biology and engineering, etc. that equip students with better prospects after graduation (“A disturbing trend,” Jan. 31). Moffat points out that education should involve “developing communication skills, maturing into a well-rounded adult and becoming a creative and critical thinker.”

While these are certainly desirable qualities, are they only attainable through humanities courses? When groups of students congregate in the Sciences Library working on that organic chemistry quiz, debugging code for a computer science project or thinking through that unsolvable math problem, they are communicating efficiently, helping their peers and furiously exercising their brains, all at the same time. Is not the whole point of scientific research to facilitate communication, collaboration and the discovery of new knowledge through creative and original thinking?

Humanities courses may be useful for a number of reasons, but it is rather dangerous to declare that “the aim of studying humanities is to produce a better human being.” Should we depend upon college courses to teach us how to be better human beings?

People learn to be good human beings from their parents, through interactions with their peers, professors and people around them. I would argue that in college, who your friends are, whether you get to know your professors and what you do outside of class is much more relevant to making you a good human being than exactly what subject you are taking.


Koushiki Bose ’13