There is no doubt that academically differentiating between "sciences" and "letters" constitutes, in addition to a rough division, a way of condemning most students to ignorance: those of letters and those of science. The true culture does not understand divisions (if any hierarchies or priorities), and a cultured individual has to aspire to be alphanumeric.
But that does not mean that science and art are the same thing, or even that they work the same way to gain knowledge (they don't even provide the same kind of knowledge). Next, a list of fundamental differences between art and science that does not aspire to opt for one or the other, but rather do not confuse them when operating with them:
- Although in its first steps, science and art are narrative artifacts in which the imagination prevails, in which segments that influence the entire construction are added and discarded. In this first moment, words and phrases are like equations and experiments. But then the story progresses and rushes towards an outcome, and that's when art and science diverge.
- In the outcome, a creative mind aspires to show a conclusive ending. But the scientist, although he also works as a poet up to this point, must finally work as an accountant: his conclusions are set out to be reviewed by equals, in the hope that other scientists accept his discoveries or locate errors in them.
- Science grows both by the approval of peers and by the veracity of their technical statements, as explained Edward O. Wilson in his book The social conquest of the Earth:
The conclusions will be checked repeatedly, and they have to be proven true. The data cannot be questionable, or theories fall apart. Mistakes discovered by others can cause a reputation to become aggravated. The punishment for fraud is nothing less than death (of reputation, and the possibility of moving forward with the race).
- If, as has been said, the death of the scientist is mainly caused by fraud (not error, since progress is based on error), the death of an artist or writer is plagiarism, but not fraud. In fiction, as in the other creative arts, a game with the imagination is expected. And to the extent that it is aesthetically pleasing, or evocative, it is praised. In science, aesthetics does not matter when judging the quality of a job.
- Rhetoric is also the point differentiated between the exposition of a scientific and an artistic work. In science, rhetoric is discouraged because it brings nothing but confusion. In art, confusion may become desirable:
What counts in science is the importance of discovery. What matters in literature is the originality and the power of metaphor. The scientific reports add a verified fragment to our knowledge of the material world. Instead, lyrical expression in literature is an artifice for communicating emotional feeling directly from the writer's mind to the reader's mind. There is no such objective in scientific reports, in which the author's purpose is to persuade the reader, through evidence and reasoning, of the validity and importance of the discovery.
You can delve into all this in the entry Arts or philosophy do not serve to answer questions, but to formulate them (sometimes)