My lecture at the conference "Discovery in the social sciences" at Leuven University is now available, and can be downloaded here.
Abstract: The humanities are usually viewed as those disciplines that investigate the productions of the human mind, such as philology, art history, linguistics, poetics and musicology. While the humanities are increasingly grouped under the umbrella of “social sciences”, they have only been very recently investigated from a comparative, historical perspective. One of the main insights emerging from these investigations deals with the nature of patterns and laws in the (history of the) humanities, such as cyclical patterns in history, sound shift laws in linguistics, and harmonic laws in musicology. Yet these investigations also include studies of full-fledged theories of language, music, theatre, poetry and art that have been proposed the history of the humanities. It turns out that most of these theories can be described by (descriptive or prescriptive) systems of rules that supposedly underlie expressions of the human mind. In this paper, I will give a brief overview of the discovery of systems of rules in the humanities, and will compare them with theory discovery in the other (social) sciences.