Sunday, October 30, 2011

Celebrating Norman Bradburn

Friday night I attended "A Tribute to Norman Bradburn: 50 Years at NORC" at which the contributions of this great scholar, academician, administrator, teacher, and consummate colleague were recognized by the organization I work for, NORC at the University of Chicago. Pleasantly enough, the event coincided with NORC's 70th birthday. Congratulations both to Norman and to NORC!

The exquisite quote below, reprinted from a letter printed in The Saturday Review (1963), capsulizes Mr. Bradburn's philosophy about the meaning and significance of two broad areas of intellectual pursuit. In the use of the word "beautiful" he reminds me of no one so much as another beloved Norman in my life, Norman Maclean, about whom I have written several times.

"Specifically, I believe that the humanities are concerned with defining, illuminating, exemplifying (and guarding) what is good and beautiful, not what is true in the world. On the other hand, the sciences, including the social sciences, however imperfect may be their methods, are properly concerned with what is true about the world and not about what is good or beautiful except insofar as conceptions of the good and the beautiful are basic facts about people living in society."

Need I add that Mr. Bradburn is renowned for his studies of human happiness?

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Sad to think that the humanities ( a code word perhaps for disdained "liberal" thinking) will be the first things to get hit with the budget axe in the latest wave of lassez faire thinking.