Humanities: What are the more important things to know?

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In summary: I know very little about history and other social sciences/humanities and I intend on learning more about these. Initially, I was going to approach this by reading into anything that interests me. This is proving to be a little hard because I know next to nothing about what's happened! :$
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I know very little about history and other social sciences/humanities and I intend on learning more about these. Initially, I was going to approach this by reading into anything that interests me. This is proving to be a little hard because I know next to nothing about what's happened! :$

What topics, in your opinion, would provide a solid foundation to further my knowledge of social sciences?

Here's what I have so far:

An introductory economics text - Samuelson (I can borrow it off someone I know)
What On Earth Happened...in brief - Christopher Lloyd
 
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You seem to say that your problem is that your completely unfamiliar with subjects in a formal way. I would suggest starting with something slightly less contemporary then you find at the bookstore. Will Durant wrote extensively and in a large scope on the Humanities, though I disagree with some of his conclusions his style is very appreciable if and even though the language is a bit dated an holds up among some of the best. The books linked below are usually available at libraries and probably legal free online sources by now, not sure though.

I will point out that I fundamentally believe that his assertion that the greatest art comes from the greatest societies is flawed, I believe the greatest art comes from the greatest aspirations, which are often found in the worst societies.

Also sometimes there is no real good starting place, you might just have to jump in the deep end and start swimming until you have fins. Poor metaphor aside, it's true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Durant

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0671739166/?tag=pfamazon01-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1567310125/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 
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  • #3
Mépris said:
I know very little about history and other social sciences/humanities and I intend on learning more about these. Initially, I was going to approach this by reading into anything that interests me. This is proving to be a little hard because I know next to nothing about what's happened! :$

What topics, in your opinion, would provide a solid foundation to further my knowledge of social sciences?

Here's what I have so far:

An introductory economics text - Samuelson (I can borrow it off someone I know)
What On Earth Happened...in brief - Christopher Lloyd

Hmmm.

I'd read Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. Pretty much all European history, government, and economy up until maybe 1945 was followon to the Roman Empire.

Then there are Keynes, Ricardo, and Adam Smith in economics.

Reading about recently discovered Stone Age societies is very helpful. There were two discovered in New Guinea in 1930 and again in 1950 or so. So there are photographs and some of the people involved are still living. The basic conflicts of humanity are there to see. Things haven't changed that much.

For prehistory (pre-5000BC or so) then DNA research and linguistics are the way to go. Linguists have determined the families of languages so it is possible to see who is related to whom in prehistory.
 
  • #4
Mépris said:
I know very little about history and other social sciences/humanities and I intend on learning more about these. Initially, I was going to approach this by reading into anything that interests me. This is proving to be a little hard because I know next to nothing about what's happened! :$

What topics, in your opinion, would provide a solid foundation to further my knowledge of social sciences?

Here's what I have so far:

An introductory economics text - Samuelson (I can borrow it off someone I know)
What On Earth Happened...in brief - Christopher Lloyd

As to the modern era I'd read a marketing text. Modern marketing is so effective that dominates society these days. Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Opinion" is about this. Propaganda is a no-holds-barred form of marketing, as in the political sphere lying is fair game.
 
  • #5


I believe that having a well-rounded understanding of various disciplines is crucial for personal growth and a deeper understanding of the world around us. In terms of social sciences and humanities, there are a few key areas that I believe are important to have a basic understanding of.

Firstly, I would recommend delving into history. This can provide a foundation for understanding current events and how they have been shaped by past events. It can also help us understand the cultural, political, and social contexts in which we live. I would suggest starting with a broad overview of world history, and then focusing on specific regions or time periods that interest you.

Secondly, economics is a fundamental aspect of our society and understanding its basic principles can be beneficial in many aspects of life. I would recommend starting with an introductory text like Samuelson's and then exploring more specific topics such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, and behavioral economics.

In addition, I believe it is important to have a basic understanding of philosophy and ethics. These disciplines can help us think critically and make informed decisions about moral and ethical issues that arise in our personal and professional lives.

Another important area to explore is sociology, which examines the behavior and interactions of individuals and groups within society. It can provide insights into social structures, cultural norms, and how individuals are influenced by their environment.

Lastly, I would suggest exploring literature and the arts. These disciplines can offer a unique perspective on human experiences and emotions, and can also help us understand different cultures and historical periods.

Overall, my advice would be to approach learning about social sciences and humanities with an open mind and a willingness to explore new ideas and perspectives. With a solid foundation in these disciplines, you can gain a deeper understanding of the world and the people around you.
 

1. What is the definition of "humanities"?

The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture, including literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, music, and language.

2. Why is it important to study humanities?

Studying humanities helps us understand our past, present, and future as individuals and as a society. It promotes critical thinking, communication skills, and empathy, and helps us make connections between different cultures and perspectives.

3. What are some key themes in humanities?

Some key themes in humanities include the exploration of human nature, the study of societal structures and institutions, the role of art and creativity in society, and the examination of ethical and moral dilemmas.

4. How does studying humanities relate to other fields of study?

Studying humanities is interconnected with other fields of study, such as social sciences, natural sciences, and technology. It provides a broader context for understanding these fields and their impact on human society.

5. What are some potential career paths for those with a degree in humanities?

Career paths for those with a degree in humanities include teaching, research, writing, advocacy, and working in fields such as media, government, and non-profit organizations. Humanities graduates also possess skills that are highly valued in a variety of industries, such as critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving.

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