I saw this on the Times and Seasons blog and thought it made a good point.
Why I am Not An Intellectual
2. Intellectualism does not make you generically competent
Gradually I came to realize that specializing in an area just means that you are really knowledgeable in that area. The research on “transfer of learning” is highly debatable, but my reading is that learning a skill in one area does not help your generic abilities as much as one might think. I gradually realized that the mathematics genius doesn’t necessarily have more sophisticated political opinions....
Of course, it is wonderful that we have specialists, but being an intellectual in one area doesn’t tap you into a generalizable divine-like wisdom for multiple areas. If you want to be an “intellectual,” that does not give you a right to speak authoritatively on anything that you haven’t actually studied, whether it’s politics, ethics, or social issues; it doesn’t make you some wise uber-human.
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