Academic disciplines cover all human endeavor towards knowledge attainment and aggregation.


It is interesting to query the way human knowledge being categorized into what we call disciplines.

Rather than portraying them as subcategories under the umbrella term "sciences", I parallel social sciences, natural sciences and formal sciences with humanities and professions. My rationale is that although all are termed sciences, their interpretations of the world are distinct: while natural sciences undoubtedly set the epistemology of science, the social science community split between eagerly chasing the natural sciences and dropping the science word, and the formal sciences are not empirical altogether.

Breaking down categories can be painful as hell. Think about the gender dichotomy.

The Arts

The Arts (艺术) are a group of disciplines in which there is primary intent to provoke an emotional response from a constructed sensory stimulus. [^1] Strictly speaking, the arts do not count as human knowledge but is a major part of human experience. That's why I included it here.

[^1]: "Drawing Lines" series. Findings by AMC

  • Performing arts: music (auditory), dance (kinetic, visual), theatre
  • Visual arts: painting, sculpture (tactile), photography, cinematography
  • Literary arts: poetry, novels
  • Culinary arts/gastronomy
  • Design and Architecture

The Humanities

The humanities (人文学科) are a group of disciplines centered around the behaviors of human beings, while deliberately exclude emotional response. [^1] The methodology in humanities mainly includes comparative method, critique, and pure reason.

  • Philosophy, Religious Studies;
  • History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics;
  • Literature, Linguistics;
  • Politics,
  • Human Geography

Social Sciences

Social sciences (社会科学) are concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Methodology adopted by social sciences is roughly a mix of those in the humanities and natural sciences.

  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology

Natural Sciences

Natural sciences (自然科学) describe, explain and predict phenomena within the physical world.

empiricism: based on empirical evidence. <-- reductionism: hypothesis, laws, reductive experiment, observable, falsifiable, reproducible

  1. Physical Sciences - non-living objects
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences: geology (geochemistry, geophysics), atmospheric sciences (meteorology/climatology), physical geography, environmental science
    • Space Sciences: astronomy, astronautics
    • Interdisciplinary: materials science, paleontology
  2. Life Sciences - living organisms
    • Biology: zoology, botany, microbiology, virology
    • Ecology
    • Evolution, Development
    • Genetics
    • Neuroscience
    • Epidemiology, Immunology

Formal Sciences

Formal sciences (形式科学) study the properties of symbolic systems. All results follow strictly from deductive reasoning.

  • Logic
  • Mathematics: algebra, analysis, geometry, dynamical system
    • Probability
    • Game theory
  • Statistics
  • Computer science
  • Systems science: network science (graph theory), cybernetics (information theory), operations research (optimization, decision theory)


Professional education (职业教育) does not aim at contributing to human knowledge, but trains students for specific well-established professions.

  • Engineering/Technology
  • Health Care:
    • Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry;
    • Pharmacy, Nursing;
    • Therapy;
    • Veterinary Medicine;
  • Law, Public Administration
  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Social Work
  • Agriculture
  • Education


[On Objectivity] Sciences, especially physical sciences, are often lauded for their objectivity compared with arts and humanities. but we need to delve into...

[On Quantitativeness]

[On Scientification]

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