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Thesis: serious scholarship produces something of value which those who have not engaged in it in some cases cannot properly appreciate. Their failure to appreciate it is what makes so many CrankS.

Why should we care about idiosyncratic views of someone from the outside looking in? Usually, no matter how intelligent and wide-ranging one's experience, if one has not done serious study of the subject, one is bound to sound like a crank, and one will simply annoy and turn away serious students of the subject and those who value serious scholarship. And by "serious scholarship" that I do not mean university study--university study is only one, certainly not infallible, way to engage in serious study.

What, then, does serious study of a subject require? It requires, first, acknowledging that you don't know very much about the subject. Second, it requires reading many books and (for academic and most professional disciplines) journal articles, until one is familiar with the leading theories, concepts, jargon, people, and historical trends that are recognized by experts in the field.

Serious study of a subject does not--emphatically not--require that one buy into any particular current theories.

-- LarrySanger

Of course SeriousScholarship is important. But equally important is to avoid AcademicElitism.


I agree with that. LS

And what about a discipline like Pure Mathematics? To begin with people with a serious interest in Mathematics DO NOT READ Mathematics books.

And then there is Language study - Again this is hardly a question of READING books.

I don't find this description of scholarship very comprehensive...I believe that each discipline has its own requirements for scholarship and expertise. RoseParks

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Last edited February 7, 2001 10:37 am by RoseParks (diff)