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The Paradoxical Unity Of Culture: The Arts And The Sciences

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Chapter Summary

"Culture", in this chapter, is exclusively in the meaning of "high culture" as opposed to "low" or "mass" culture. In this sense culture encompasses the domains of the arts, the sciences, and what vaguely can be called the "humanities," occupying an ill-defined, intermediary position between the first two. The chapter addresses the questions - whether it is meaningful and legitimate to talk about culture in the singular, and whether there is any kind of unity that connects the different domains of the sciences and the arts. Culture is first of all a realm of works, that is, objectivations. Many pre-modern societies distinguished a group of activities to which a particular spiritual significance and excellence were ascribed. Cultural modernity had an enduring structure which confers upon it a unity, but of a paradoxical kind. It was not a unity based on some dominant constituent pervading and constraining all other practices.

Keywords: arts; cultural modernity; high culture; paradoxical unity; pre-modern societies; sciences

10.1163/ej.9789004202405.i-666.9
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