Science vs. Art

When people say they’ve got something down to a science, do they mean they’ve got something down to a system?

And what do they mean when they say they have something down to an art?

Let’s discuss and debate…

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3 Responses to “Science vs. Art”


  1. 1 Fred H Schlegel August 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Both terms indicate admiration. I’m not sure I have consciously distinguished the two in the past, however, in looking back I think ‘down to a science’ applied to detail and precision over concept. ‘made an art of’ focused on creating something that surpasses the sum of its parts.

  2. 2 Lynne August 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I think Fred put it beautifully… Interesting to think about!

  3. 3 Michelle Russell August 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Hmm. Interesting. I guess to me, “down to a science” does imply a focus on systems. On mechanics, and on processes that maximize efficiency.

    For me, “down to an art” carries connotations of creativity and intuition. The “soul” or “spirit” of whatever is being done. And maybe technical proficiency, too.

    I think our culture teaches an artificial separation between science and art. There are some fairly repetitive mechanical aspects of creating any type of “art,” and there are also so many stories about how scientists have made their best discoveries through intuition and creative flashes.

    Good question, Cairene…I’m curious to see the other replies!


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