Science, reason, knowledge, and wisdom: A critique of specialism

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 23 (1):19 – 81 (1980)
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In this paper I argue for a kind of intellectual inquiry which has, as its basic aim, to help all of us to resolve rationally the most important problems that we encounter in our lives, problems that arise as we seek to discover and achieve that which is of value in life. Rational problem-solving involves articulating our problems, proposing and criticizing possible solutions. It also involves breaking problems up into subordinate problems, creating a tradition of specialized problem-solving - specialized scientific, academic inquiry, in other words. It is vital, however, that specialized academic problem-solving be subordinated to discussion of our more fundamental problems of living. At present specialized academic inquiry is dissociated from problems of living - the sin of specialism, which I criticize.

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Nicholas Maxwell
University College London