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On the Significance of Science and Art

Leo Tolstoy

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nce felt that no common-sense was left in her she called herself sensible, that is to say, scientific science.


Division of labor is the law of all existing things, and, therefore, it should be present in human societies.  It is very possible that this is so; but still the question remains, Of what nature is that division of labor which I behold in my human society? is it that division of labor which should exist?  And if people regard a certain division of labor as unreasonable and unjust, then no science whatever can convince men that that should exist which they regard as unreasonable and unjust.

Division of labor is the condition of existence of organisms, and of human societies; but what, in these human societies, is to be regarded as an organic division of labor?  And, to whatever extent science may have investigated the division of labor in the cells of worms, all these observations do not compel a man to acknowledge that division of labo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I enjoy a good rant, especially one of a person who educated himself to know better, but Tolstoy is, in almost all of his criticism of science and art, outdated. At least if one is to reply to specific attacks he issues on the contemporary philosophers at his time (which does not mean that his conte

Tolstoy describes the purpose of Art and Science, the purpose of specialization in our daily jobs. Discovering your own talents and utilizing them for the greater good of society is one's duty. He asks several times what is one to do with ones life, and at the end he summarizes with three points:


Still applicable today

It would do well to make this required reading for art students and various science students as well. The question should always be asked of ones work, of what good am I doing for my fellow man? Even to assume that the answer is easy is to not understand what the question is as