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ISRG Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


This study delves into the intersection of generative artificial intelligence (GAI) and the Humanities, guided by the critical insights of Kenneth Burke, a seminal figure in the study of rhetoric and a vocal critic of scientism and positivism. The skepticism of the American literary theorist towards an uncritical embrace of science and technology, and his concerns over the inclination of the Humanities to adopt scientific methodologies at the expense of traditional forms of inquiry, provide a critical framework for examining the new role played by GAI within the Humanities. By framing these tools in the context of Burkean rhetorical theory, this research argues that AI in general should not be viewed as a foreign invader to the Humanities tradition but as an opportunity for them to reassert their indispensable role in guiding the ethical and purposeful integration of STEM into humanistic studies. Drawing on Burke's concepts of humans as "symbol-using animals" and literature as "equipment for living," the study positions AI as a sophisticated extension of human symbolic action, equipped to engage with ethical considerations and profoundly influence human life. This theoretical grounding underscores the importance of maintaining a humanistic perspective in the development and application of AI technologies, emphasizing the capacity of the Humanities to provide ethical direction and meaningful context to technological advancement. By highlighting Burkean critique of the overreliance on scientific approaches in the Humanities, the study advocates for a balanced integration of AI, where technology enhances rather than replaces traditional humanistic inquiry. This approach not only honors the legacy of the theorist but also addresses contemporary concerns within the Humanities about the ethical implications of these evolving generative technologies, suggesting a collaborative pathway forward that leverages the best of both humanistic and scientific traditions. Through this lens, AI emerges not merely as a tool for innovation but as a catalyst for reaffirming the Humanities' critical role in shaping a technologically advanced society with ethical depth and cultural significance.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.