I see this phrase used in lot many places:

is as much art as it is science

However, I am not sure what it means. Can someone please help me understand?

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  • 4
    An "art" depends mostly on skill, talent, and instinct -- there is no "cookbook", and only limited improvement in one's art can be gotten from textbooks, etc. Science, on the other hand, is (from one point of view) a matter of applying "textbook formulas" to a problem. (This view of the two is rather ignorant from several standpoints, but it does capture an essential difference between the two.) – Hot Licks Apr 8 '18 at 21:18

What that phrase usually implies is that there are so many variables, not always known and understood, such that you can't get the results you want by applying a simple algorithm. It requires someone who uses their 'instinct', built by dealing with many many similar situations, to 'feel' what to do to get the desired result.


A "science" is performed with the goal of achieving an objectively correct result. An "art" may be subjectively evaluated.


Science and art are explained well enough above. However, a mix of art and science indicates something that is a mix of both. I hear the phrase used to describe medicine, a science that requires a subjective touch at times, or something like welding sculptures that combines art with metallurgy.

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