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May 10, 2021 at 8:42 pm

Vedder in Forbes | A Discourse on Hyper-Specialization vs. General Education

Dr. Richard Vedder, portrait

Dr. Richard Vedder

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University, wrote a column at Forbes headlined Publish Or Perish Can Become Publish AND Perish.

Going back several hundred years, the great contributors to advancing our civilization tended to dabble in many disciplines and were not ultra-specialized. Leonardo Da Vinci, when not painting masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, was building putative flying machines or pursuing other quasi-scientific pursuits. Isaac Newton was both a great mathematician AND physicist. Adam Smith wrote an insightful treatise in philosophy before he wrote the first great book in economics.

…I am not a critic of specialization: indeed, it is a necessary condition for many advances in human knowledge of modern times. At the same time, however, it not only has made communication more difficult because of the language problem identified by the Arizona scholars, but it explains why today’s colleges and universities often cannot agree on what is a “general education,” an indispensable body of knowledge that all college educated persons should possess….

Read his column at Forbes.

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