and in the days of philosophers going all the way back to Aristotle if not Plato. It is the
central contention of David Temple’s paper, “The Two Cultures: Redefining Education
with an Abacus and a Rose”, that “the rigid structures that have come to define learning
and assessment cannot prepare students for a world that will demand of them an
appreciation of both the ‘abacus and the rose,’ and the ability to use them together is
essential to redefining education.” While it is true that the two cultures to which Snow
referred—and it should be said that these were essentially cultures of an academic or
scholarly kind, what Temple himself labels the disciplines—were the sciences and the
humanities, many philosophers today would consider that more than two such cultures
exist. While Temple does not specifically address this point, in saying that what he seeks
is a reimagining of what Bronowski called the creative mind, that is a “reawakening to
the ‘hidden likenesses’ that connect all fields of study and teaching,” he does appear to
recognize that whatever number of different disciplines or cultures exist all need to be
taken into account in drawing up educational programs. Of particular interest in Temple’s
treatment of the issue is the manner in which he brings the perspectives represented in the
two cultures debate to his examination of the organization of subjects found in schooling
today. And he is careful to add that rectifying the problems associated with this cannot be
successfully dealt with by merely altering prevailing forms of curriculum organization.
Rectifying existing problems, rather, calls for the recognition of the student teacher
relationship wherein the teacher can bring “to bear knowledge, experience, and tools that
help the student to discern those subtleties of thought and application that might
otherwise be missed.”
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