ART and SCIENCE are catchphrases for configurations of cognitive functions. (localized and distributed coordinated processes in the brain and body that have more-or-less privileged connections with each other that make specific aspects of INPUT—INTEGRATION—OUTPUT more-or-less likely) ARTISTS and SCIENTISTS (and we are all more-or-less both) are highly motivated to make the contents of mind understandable (both to themselves and to others).    Our evolutionary biology has prioritized functions that support MEETING BIOLOGICAL NEEDS (both immediate and long-term)  As a working hypothesis we treat all specific COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS are highly ADAPTIVE (in the evolutionary past or developmental present) and contribute to direct and inclusive FITNESS. 


Cognitive dispositions and competencies are not distributed equally.  We all enjoy differences attributable to our genetic and cultural make-up.  And to the extent that we can communicate with ourselves and each other, our knowledge and understanding of the world in which we must survive and hopefully thrive can be enormously enlarged.  [See KNOWLEDGE IS POWER]


The differences and similarities of ART and SCIENCE as they might be useful to college instructors were explored in a recent conference presentation (Greenberg et al. 2017)[i]

Cultural memes that have contributed to traditional views of ART and SCIENCE:

Points to Ponder and debate as we compose our views about art and science and their interaction with each other and with teaching — really with any activity where people of differing experience share their ideas .


Art.   “A distinctive human universal … art can be viewed as ordinary behavior made special.”—Ellen Dissanayake (1992)[xx]

“All good art is abstract,” Susanne Langer (1957:69)

” . . . every art purporting to represent involves a process of reduction… This reduction is the beginning of art…” –Andre Malraux, The Voices of Silence 1953:275[xxi].

Science. “The method of scientific investigation is nothing but the expression of the necessary mode of working of the human mind.”—T.H. Huxley[xxii] … recalls Einstein: “Science is a refinement of everyday thinking.”


“Science is neither a philosophy or a belief system.  It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon be a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. –E.O. Wilson (1998)[xxiii]

Views of Relationship.  “Art is I, Science is we” –Claude Bernard[xxiv]


the technical and rational aspects of the disciplines [must not] take the place of the artistry (e.g. dealing with uncertainty, uniqueness or conflict) … [I am] concerned about … a ‘squeeze play’ in which technical rationality and dwindling professional autonomy in effect squeeze out the opportunity to focus on artistry in practice.”  –Schön’s (1987) view described by Vagle (2010)[xxv]


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”—Albert Einstein

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”—David Hume[xxvi]

“…parts and wholes evolve in consequence of their relationship, and the relationship itself evolves. These are the properties of things that we call dialectical: that one thing cannot exist without the other, that one acquires its properties from its relation to the other, that the properties of both evolve as a consequence of their interpenetration”—Levins and Lewontin11 

Motivation.  All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves…”–Aristotle[xxvii]

“All of us have felt the pleasure of acquiring information … the enjoyment of such experiences is deeply connected to an innate hunger for information: Human beings are designed to be “infovores.” It’s a craving that begins with a simple preference for certain types of stimuli, then proceeds to more sophisticated levels of perception and cognition that draw on associations the brain makes with previous experiences.”—Biederman & Vessel[xxviii]

“The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If  nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.”—Jules Henri Poincaré

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. —Albert Einstein