Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Pretenders

Politics Departments were transformed into Political Science Departments in the hopes of being taken more seriously. Sophisticated Americans today know that real knowledge is only acquired in the “hard” sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry. Reading and debating the arguments posed in Plato’s Republic and The Federalist Papers is replaced with analyzing charts and graphs derived from polling data.

This isn’t to say the ancients didn’t appreciate math. Plato had written above his academy’s doors: “
Let no one unversed in geometry enter here” Plato believed the rigorous thinking required in geometry would lead to clear ideas when it came to philosophy. Yet he did not think, like Descartes would later, that philosophy should be based upon the model of geometry.

Pope Benedict, in his Regensberg Address, spoke about how professors from all the different disciplines used to gather together in a public setting to discuss some issue.

This is not done anymore due to the hyper-specialization required in the Academy. Academics do not have the broad interests which would make such a conversation possible.

It would behoove politics students to study fields within the natural sciences and discuss hot button issues with science majors which concern both groups e.g. stem-cell research, whether ID should be taught in public schools, etc. That would benefit politics students more than pretending to be something they are not.

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