The Questions C.P. Snow Raised 50 Years Ago By Asking: Where Are We Now?

E.O. Wilson, Janna Levin, Laszlo Barabasi, Steven Pinker, Marc Hauser and Rebecca Goldstein discuss the issue over at Edge:

“Are we beyond the Two Cultures?” asks Seed Magazine in its May 7 commemoration of the 50th anniversary of C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures lecture. Readers following Edge since it began 12 years, 285 editions, and 2,939,953 words ago, know how to answer this question. Fortunately, Seed follows up and asks “Where are we now?”

It's been clear for several years that the third culture I predicted I fifteen years earlier has been in need of an update. “There are encouraging signs,” I wrote in “The Expanding Third Culture” (2006), “that the third culture includes scholars in the humanities who think the way scientists do. Like their colleagues in the sciences, they believe there is a real world and their job is to understand it and explain it. They test their ideas in terms of logical coherence, explanatory power, conformity with empirical facts. They do not defer to intellectual authorities: Anyone's ideas can be challenged, and understanding and knowledge accumulate through such challenges. They are not reducing the humanities to biological and physical principles, but they do believe that art, literature, history, politics—a whole panoply of humanist concerns—need to take the sciences into account.”

Seed has played in this field of ideas, creating their own kind of culture, one that embraces artists, architects, novelists designers, musicians, etc., presenting their work in vibrant and imaginative ways.

In the videos below, Seed asks six notable scientists, authors, thinkers — all also early Edge contributors — (E.O. Wilson, Janna Levin, Albert-László Barabási, Steven Pinker, Marc D. Hauser, and Rebecca Goldstein) — to comment on where the third culture is today.