Physical humanities

In education, physical humanities, or “physical science based humanities”, a two cultures-one nature subject, refers to the study of: economics, sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, government, anthropology, politics, literature, business, law, finance, architecture, among other subjects of human inquiry, in terms of the logic of: physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. [1]

“All knowledge can be divided into two classes: subjects that study the interrelations of two or more persons (history, literature, economics, sociology, law, politics, theology, education, etc.) and those that do not (logic, mathematics, physics, biology, and other natural sciences, grammar, harmony, etc.); [the former are slower] in setting in motion activity that becomes the most important and influential in the world.”
Lawrence Henderson (1935), on Machiavelli's studies vs. Galileo's studies [2]

“Man must jump, as Adams liked to say, if he would save himself; a moral and intellectual elite must be recruited. If nothing else would serve to make moral philosophers out of historians, the fear of imminent annihilation might. University education must be revolutionized by the physicist-historian.”
Ernest Samuels (1989), Henry Adams [4]

Said another way, in reference to the above statement by American physical chemistry applied sociologist Lawrence Henderson, physical humanities is the science of the study of two or more persons as defined by the physical sciences—physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics—chemical thermodynamics of foremost, foundational, and fundamental importance, being that the first law and second law of thermodynamics are the foundational basis of the laws of operation of nature and the universe.

Courses | Historical
Historical examples of "physical humanities" stylized courses include: Polish physical socio-economist Leon Winiarski’s Clausius inequality based “Social Mechanics” course on political economy and pure economics taught at the University of Geneva (1894-1900), American polymath Edwin Wilson's physical chemistry and heat engine based “Mathematical Economics” course taught at Harvard (1934-1937), and American physical chemist Lawrence Henderson's chemical thermodynamics based “Sociology 23” course taught at Harvard (1935-1938) (see: Harvard Pareto circle).

The modern logic of such "physical humanities" is embodied in American chemical thermodynamicist Frederick Rossini's now semi-controversial 1971 “Chemical Thermodynamics in the Real World” address (see: Rossini debate).

Recent examples of a "physical humanities" like courses can be found being taught in Korea University Graduate School’s program in science and technology studies, who since at least 2013 have been offering courses in sociological thermodynamics, an intermixture of general systems theory, cultural and industrial revolution, and thermodynamics, which they define as the “new paradigm of social science” in the 21st century, two examples of which, as three credit courses, are shown below: [3]

Seminar on Social Thermodynamics
SOS 7252014

The term “physical humanities”, introduced in 2013 by American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, is meant to embody and encompass the extensive and variegated historical two cultures namesakes precursors. [1] The term physical humanities is somewhat conceptualized as an expanded (all-humanities) version of American sociologist Leon Warshay’s 2013 discussions of “physical sociology”, in his critique of the critiquers, namely Pitirim Sorokin (1921) and Werner Stark (1962), of the various physio-chemical based mechanistic schools of the late 19th century early 20th century sociology, which he sees as being a type of “foreign matter”, albeit not for lack of want or potential, to modern sociology.

One early example of "physical humanities" like effort, so to say, is French scholar Michel Montaigne's readings of the atomic theory in Lucretius' On the Nature of Things, with which he used as the basis of his 1580 Essays on existence—a work that would become one of William Shakespeare's favorite books.

Further historical discussion is found in: two cultures synergy, two cultures department, and human thermodynamics education.

See also
‚óŹ Physicochemical humanities

1. (a) Thims, Libb. (2014-15/16). Chemical Thermodynamics: with Applications in the Humanities (85-page version: pdf) (physical humanities, pg. xviii). Publisher.
(b) Email communication from Leon Warshay to Libb Thims (5, 8 Mar; 14 May 2013).
2. Henderson, Lawrence J. (1935). Pareto’s General Sociology: a Physiologists Interpretation (keyword: thermodynamics, pgs. 10, 47, 82, 90, 92; note 5: “The Sources of Pareto’s Social System”, pgs. 91-93; "all knowledge", pgs. 8-9; actions quote, pgs. 70-71; §:Note 3, pgs. 74-81; §:Note 4, pgs. 81-90). Harvard University Press.
Social Thermodynamics (courses) (2013 archive) – Korea University Graduate School.
Samuels, Ernest. (1989). Henry Adams (physicist-historian, pg. 411). Harvard University Press.

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