Can any one help me with the meaning of this paragraph:

"We have insights into reality, we continually reshape them, putting oppositions together, arguing, reconciling on different systems of knowledge simultaneously – art and science, science and art. Not the same, never likely to form any kind of universal epistemology, but equally important modes of enquiry."

What is "– art and science, science and art" saying there? can you put it another way in the sentence so that I understand its role?

Can you rewrite this sentence "Not the same, never likely to form..." in a more understandable form? What does it mean actually?

At the end I would be so grateful if any one can rewrite the whole paragraph in plain english :)

  • Without knowing the full context, that paragraph can be used to describe many things. Is it a philosophical piece on objectivism? Is it a rant on how science and art aren't being publicly funded enough?
    – Othya
    Jul 3, 2015 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


"art and science, science and art" is a device to avoid giving more importance to one of the two disciplines. There is also a sense in which 'to reconcile' is directional. I might be able to reconcile my science with my art but not vice versa.

Example: reconcile •make or show to be compatible. "the agreement had to be reconciled with the city's new international relations policy"

  • So is "art and science, science and art" referring to "our insights into reality" or "different systems of knowledge" grammatically?
    – user127733
    Jul 3, 2015 at 20:05
  • 1
    Neither. You seem to have difficulty reading at this level overall. Why not begin with easier materials?
    – Yang
    Jul 6, 2015 at 8:17

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge asking such questions as what knowledge is, how knowledge is acquired or what trurh is or whether man can know truth. To gain insight into actuality (what is real or unreal) we juxtapose opposing ideas, thoughts, beliefs; and we argue,reconcile,accept or discard. To do so, we take the help of science and art or vice versa.(science=knowledge, art=application) None of these two is absolute for understanding of the truth,but, to quote from your citation,'equally important modes of enquiry.

Now an example: your concept of scenic beauty of countryside is science. Your drawing a picture of such a scene is art. And what you strive at is to gain an insight into the truth/reality/fundamentals as you may call it.

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