The humanities are a form of knowledge. Like other knowledge, this deals with man’s life in nature and society, but it is acquired through the study of man’s spiritual creations—language, art, history, philosophy and religion. This filtering of the subject, man, through the medium of mind has the effect of keeping always in the foreground the element of novelty, of uniqueness, of astonishing unpredictability. Whereas the study of nature assumes and finds its uniformities, and whereas the scientific study of society tries also to grasp what is regular and inevitable, the study of nature and man through the humanities dwells on what in individual and unlike and anarchic. It finds what does not conform to rule, what has no counterpart, what does not “behave” but simply is or acts—this is the splendid and refreshing spectacle of the humanities.
~ Jacques Barzun, The Misbehavioral Sciences (1959)