Saturday, February 18, 2006

Other Fields

I know I need to get over this, but I feel this sort of disbelief/fascination with some of the fields people are studying. I mean, I am not the sort of person who does things for "the greater good", but I do like to think that some piece of my work may one day help shape a helpful policy. It probably won't, but at least there is the possibility! Maybe I'm showing my inner Philistine here, but what good can you do with a PhD in ancient philosophy?


Anonymous Pat L said...

Thomas Sowell wrote in a recent column that people should study ancient history just to learn that the same hare brained schemes and ideas that are being proposed now have been around for eons. Actually, I'm not sure that he used the word eons, and I'm not completely sure what an eon is, but you get the idea.

February 20, 2006 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Adam M Osman said...

Geez, a month without hearing from anyone else... I am sure that isn't annoying:-) I keep checking your site 2 or 3 times a day now. Good luck on the rest of your apps I am pulling for you.

Take care.

February 27, 2006 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, knowledge for knowledge's sake is always a good answer. Also, find what you like and do it for a career is a good idea. I agree with both of these ideas even though they dont adhere to the "greater good" philosophy.

But for agruement's sake, let examine both econ and ancient philosophy for the "greater good." In the larger picture, I think that events, or history, is shaped more by ideas than material wants or desires. Now economics is largerly concerned with material things, no? Not to say that ideas can not be developed by economists. But given the current trend in economics, for example the book freakanomics, deals with numbers and leaves ideas(political policy open). I believe for example he noted that the crime rate has dropped with the legalization of abortion. Yet, he does not make a claim one way or the other that abortion should be continued or stopped. Of course, this information could be used or adapted by someone else to affect the world. But then, the person that acted with this knowledge would be as responsible for “the greater good” as much as the person who complied the data if not more so.

Or perhaps, you think ideas gained from the study of economics hold more wait than those discovered in the realm of philosophy. Then it just depends on whether you think the economy( or material wants) or ideas shape history. Different historians take different perspectives on this and there is not an universal held perspective in the world of history as far as I know.

I believe that if a person is wise enough, or smarter enough, or creative enough, or whatever, to influence the larger picture it doesn’t matter what field they study.

A person studying philosophy, even ancient philosophy, is just as likely to develop an idea that shapes the world as an economist. Whatever subject they deal with they are working with ideas. Since we have all been to some extent culturally constructed, the ancient philosopher interactions with ideas of the past interconnect with their mind frame of today ideas or theories they create, while centered on the past, may just as well deal with the present.

February 28, 2006 at 5:02 AM  

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