Funding-wise I mean. This was implied in some of my remarks in the discussion on research funding in the comments on this earlier post. I wonder, are there any major differences between substantive arguments and values that add up to something along the lines of “fund the National Endowment for the Arts” and “fund research by academics in the humanities”? I mean with the NEA parallel specifically funding for artists and artistic production, and by the humanities I mean to exclude things like medical advances, faster microchips, cleaner technology, and social stuff like improved counseling practice for trauma survivors, more effective teaching of reading, and so on – stuff with a clear and relatively short term and obvious economic or social welfare impact.

Hmm. A wrinkle… I realize that I’m assuming that there is no difference between some scholarly research and artistic products. I don’t mean to argue here that this is true for *all* scholarly research (though that’s my inclination, or close to it); I think it’s clear that *some* scholarly research is not different from art in important ways. I suppose then I’ve probably answered my own question: for that work in the humanities that is not different in important ways from art then there could be no real and honest important difference in the justification for that work in the humanities. So I have to extend my claim further. Assuming that some work in the humanities is different from art, what (or when?) is different about justification for funding that work and funding artistic production?

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