Recently I visited the Art and Science Museum in Singapore, and it struck me as a rather obvious but perhaps not commonly discussed possibility that art and science are just different lens into which we can view the human mind at work.

For example someone like Leonardo Da Vinci who mastered both art and science, or Professor Arthur I. Miller in his book Colliding Worlds writing about the intersection of art and science certainly see something harmonious with combining art and science rather than trying to separate them.

I have also posted a question on another StackExchange site looking for words that describe both art and science as an idea/concept: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/396201/a-word-that-means-pertaining-to-both-art-and-science

A commonly quoted saying attributed to Da Vinic goes something like this:

“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

So the question is, can (or should) science and art be viewed as one idea/concept/discipline?

5 Answers 5


I see art and science as two sides of the same coin. Their objects are different but necessarily related.

Perhaps we could see the object of science as knowledge, and the object of art as understanding. The object of philosophy would be to characterise the difference between knowledge and understanding.

  • What is the need for philosophy to characterise this difference? Jul 8, 2017 at 4:17
  • The way I have phrased it makes it sounds like a normative statement, about what philosophy would need to do, but also I think through observation that this is what philosophers do, tacitly - setting up the argument in terms of the present state of knowledge or debate in one or another field, and then try to show how this or another theory can be tweaked, overhauled, or criticised in such a way as to yield a kind of knowledge which yields more accurate understanding of the problem. So I would see these terms, knowledge and understanding, as essential to the dialectic/process of philosophy.
    – l_ruth_
    Jul 8, 2017 at 21:50

Can science and art be described as different lenses into the human mind?

Well, rather, I would propose the question be reformatted to this: Are science and art the difference lenses human mind used to look at the world? For I think there is one human mind, the different lenses won't change the human mind but they do express/depict the human mind differently. The expressed/depicted human mind of course is not that human mind, but expressions and depictions only.

Therefore with the human mind as intact, can't be changed, the different lenses of science and art stemmed from the same source thus the world these instruments painted on the surface looked different but intrinsically parallel and translatable between each other. All of them are describing the world in terms of patterns, and pattern can only be formulated by describing the relationship between each other. That is pattern, a descriptive tool for differentiating thus locating parts of the whole, in terms of dot, line, plane, cube, color in art; in terms of gravity, speed, space-time, distance, particles... etc in science. Likewise, musical pattern can be completely translated back to mathematical ratios.

But then there will be another yes, for there is no world in the first place, except human mind. The world emerged due to the nature of human mind and it's capacity; however, again this would make the initial question too complex, a one-step-at-a-time approach is more desirous.


As per my understanding with regarding to art and science I would like to say Yes. I do think that art,science,engineering and sports are different field of work described as different lenses in the human mind.

Science: for me its a quest for getting knowledge that will take human explore the truth.

Engineering: for me its applying theoretical science to solve problems.

Art: for me its somewhat presenting of philosophy to improve understanding of human and giving pleasure and/or inspiration and/or motivation to with/without giving a damn on science.


Sports/Games: for me its somewhat persevering the attitude of progress and/or achievement and/or improvement of self/team/group

all of them require knowledge,skill and attitude to mastery just end objective is different and i guess every human go through all of this concept in life but one or more of them strive more motivation and human get his/her identity as any one of them.


The problem with the da Vinci quote is it refers to art in the older sense, a knowledge that lets one build something. One makes shoes by the shoemaker’s art. By science he had in mind theoretical statements such as the kind one finds in geometrical theorems, and of the definitional kind one gets in principles, for instance, concerning the the law of a country.

Crude, but hopefully not utterly misleading, précis (with barest skeleton of info): The Reformation led to the opening of academies with non-religious painting. The British came up with the notion of the Fine Arts, Beaux-Arts in France. The current Chinese word for art dates from the Vienna World Exposition of 1876, before that each of the things one calls art were not bundled together by the Chinese, as měishù. The breakdown of the academies opened the age of art for its own sake, personal art. (Remember, that in many places, such as India even after intense British contact in the 18th and 19th centuries, most art went unsigned, and no attention was payed to the maker as a person of distinction or talent.)

I would say. 1.Art today concerns biography, personality, the human being as inner being and not as the objective neuronal knowledge of brain systems. 2.Science the possibility of collecting effects, relative to space and time, which could at anytime, and forever, be deployed; but often without essential connection to human affairs.

This is a very profound question. I believe one must start by making a distinction between the arts and Art. Insofar as all handicraft, professions, shoemaker, lawyer, chemist (apothecary), were, in former times, regarded as arts, art meant, making something according to a knowledge, according to an art. Today, however, art largely refers to the idea of the artist, the special individual with artistic powers. In a certain sense, the human is totally explored by the figure of this artist, who is supposed to be utterly free. For example, one says, the artist should not be constrained by politics or--most especially--by financial considerations. Art in the older sense, was the art commissioned by patrons. Art in the current sense, is art as the artist going to the limit of their art, and then, also being paid (as though it were something disgusting and beyond art. Or, as it were, what is the same, increasingly these days, with total cynicism and open exploitation of the elite HNWI.)

The artist, Art, aims at total annihilation of the human being, as the normal specimen. Art becomes a name for freedom, and not for what the sciences deal with, necessities of nature. But this freedom, can by its more harsh critics, be named the destruction of the human being, insanity, inhumanness, the biography of the “other”, the alien being, the future.

On the other hand, when the sciences, become Science, it means we are dealing with that ability to harness all the necessary power of empirical nature. Everything that can be done and kept as a knowledge, as what can be at any time deployed, and repeated. The periodic table of elements, the knowledge of how to combine vast numbers of chemicals and what result that would bring. The knowledge of building all manner of helpful tools, of medical techniques, of warmachines, of destructive gases. What this Science shares with the current art is the emphasis on the absence of moral rectitude. On both sides man shatters his will against the openness of all possibility as never before. Since any limitation, on the basis of moral consideration, that some discovery, stem cells, would threaten the possibility of advancement, is felt somehow as Christian, as backward, as unacceptable to the unconstrained search.

  • +1 I was going to say that Art seems to be a name for freedom in the same sense that Science seems to be a name for truth, but then I still see an overlap or a way for the two to be seen as one of the same. Jul 4, 2017 at 5:06
  • The problem one might try to solve is not connected to Art in the current sense. Which doesn't try to make things that are necessary or meaningful to human life any more than science does, as science, e.g, a good shoe or stool. The word "truth" here only means relative to a 'neutral' notion of time/space, it leaves out the human truth. That's Will to Power as Truth, function, efficacy as Rationality, blind Macht. But Art by the current sense also denies the human. No human nature. If there is no human life as such, one can't make things suited to it, the standard lacks in principle.
    – user26700
    Jul 5, 2017 at 20:01

For art, it is a possible analogy to consider it as a way to focus things like a lens does, because art is essentially posing of, perceiving of, and then feeling about (art) objects. But extending this analogy to science, saying it is just a (further) lens, is a strange idea because the aim of science is not posing and feeling objects, and even perceiving is not its main task. Science’s main task is to explore the causes of things.

Cause (especially fundamental cause, but also practical, superficial cause) is a category of completely different character and depth than posing/perceiving/feeling. Hence, it is impossible to take science and art as different perspectives of one idea.

The mentioned book “Colliding Worlds” contains nothing that may be termed unifying or analogous between science and art. The examples in this book do not differ from the usual art that utilizes everyday objects as its motives; the difference is merely that the motives are now scientific theories or scientific objects, but in a completely superficial manner. Only the material, or even only the title(!), of these (degenerate) artworks has superficially something to do with science.

For instance the “Quantum Man” (p. 119) has not really something to do with quantum; or the “Bacterial Radio” (p. 219) is not really a radio. The whole thing is merely ridiculous. It remembers me of garbage art, or of one artist who collected soil samples in our town and exhibited them later.

What could be the motive for speaking (e.g. on the book cover) in such high terms about these bricolages and even comparing them with science? Perhaps it is a try to destroy our feeling for what has and what lacks substance, in a way that ultimately even the ‘lowest drawer’ should still be socially acceptable and admired. Hence someone intends to destroy the ideal society completely by false propaganda. In other posts I already explained explicitly who is the backer of this identity destroying agenda.

Amendments after the edit of the question, when the questioner added Da Vinci's citations:

Modern science started not before 1600, with Galilei’s mathematical formulation of the kinematic law of falling bodies; this was 80 years after Da Vinci. Hence, physics, like chemistry, did not yet exist as science at the time of Da Vinci. In these two fields Da Vinci was not active at all. But he was occupied with botany, anatomy, mathematics/geometry and machine construction.

So, it is not clear what Da Vinci’s sentences “Study the science of art. Study the art of science” mean from the point of view of our today’s apprehension of “science”. We live in another context, since Da Vinci didn’t have the slightest idea of chemistry, though chemistry is the foundation of our scientific world view.

Da Vinci’s sentence “Realize that everything connects to everything else” is just poetical, since he had no chance to formulate this coherence/connection at the level of (non-)development of science of that time. Even if Da Vinci lived today, he would see that the only coherences/connections, which are appreciated in today’s science are mathematical models.°) — However, between his time and our time there was Goethe who’s world view was in the sense of Da Vinci’s sentence, as explained here.


°) All theories in the sense of Da Vinci's sentence are excluded from science. But, of course, some scientists even claim (misleadingly) quantum mechanics to be just what Da Vinci meant.

  • +1 Perhaps Prof. Miller doesn't quite go as far in his book as I would have liked (and one of the purpose of writing a book is obviously to try and sell copies of it), but I wouldn't say that it isn't based on anything sound. But I will take a look at your other posts. Jul 3, 2017 at 23:21
  • 1
    @Michael Lai, Miller’s book is not unsound, he just reports what’s happening in art concerning the motive science. I am an amateur researcher (I had a look at Miller’s book for the first time while eating today in the restaurant). I just reported my reflections, and I’m sure that very many people do not like them. The main post concerning identity destruction is here (since looking through all my posts would probably be an overextension).
    – user26880
    Jul 3, 2017 at 23:58

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