| FORUM | ARCHIVE |                    | TOTAL QUIZ RESULT |


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - scholars and intellectuals
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login


Welcome stranger, click here to read about some of the great benefits of registering for a free account with us and joining us in our global online community.


scholars and intellectuals

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: scholars and intellectuals
    Posted: 20 Oct 2016 at 03:20
First of all this should be considered food for thought, grist for the mill.  I hope that others will find it an interesting model, but like all models, the model is of reality, it should not be mistaken for the reality itself.  Hopefully others can find in this something to expound on, expand from and critique.

Scholars are a more conservative group that traditionally has been imbedded in academia, the church, so forth.  They deal with "esoteric" questions of what is proper pronunciation of Sumerian, what is the difference between the genitive plural definite article in Homeric Greek vs. in Koine Greek, women's hairstyles on the ancient Greek coins of Syracuse, marriage customs in the Vedas, and what kind of bug is represented in Kafka's Metamorphosis.  In other words, they are interested in issues that the real world has no interest in, except for example when every four years the Olympics comes up and some "publication" decides as a human interest story, to mention that the Olympics were founded in 773 BC by Heracles or some other such thing.  Scholarly questions are of no interest or use whatsoever, except perhaps (1) to illustrate some facet of the human condition otherwise overlooked or neglected, and (2) in-trance, amuse, or entertain the scholar.  However, the answer to the question "what use is it?" is usually quite personal, because it is beautiful, it is good, it is holy, or if nothing else, because it represents a path, a way of life, a way of thinking, that is these things and is gone except for the traces it has left behind.  The scholar is conservative not in the sense of modern politics, but more in a sense that he is appreciative of some past world.  As Leo Strauss said when asked by students regarding what time he would like to lived in, in the past, he said 'the world of Maimonides (the Jewish Medieval philosopher), but he would have missed Nietzsche.'

An intellectual is someone who uses their knowledge in service of a higher task, they're not just trying to understand the world, they are trying to change it, usually according to some utopian ideal.  Instead of "obscure" questions their reading involves overarching topics of justice.  Whereas one kind of reform is piecemeal reform, involving addressing limited topics, tweaking things in the system here, seeing where it goes out of whack next (whack-a-mole).  Utopian reform wants an overarching change in the system that will "fix it" for good.  Intellectuals "know" what they want in the end, anarchy, the proletarian state, heaven-on-Earth, and everything they do is aimed at that.  Except of course, that many revolutionaries get side tracked or discouraged and 'bleed' into the category of scholar.
Originally, scholars were primarily in the universities and intellectuals were primarily outside of the universities, socially independent, although involved in worker's issues, although sometimes detached from actual workers.  I am thinking about Marxism, anarchism, so forth.  In America, however, during the Vietnam War, you didn't have to go to Vietnam if you were a college student, and so at that time, all sorts of leftist dogma entered the university and dug in.  There is a great video of Berkeley that illustrates what happened next, in the video students are singing "we shall overcome" and the song spontaneously transforms into' "yellow submarine" by the Beatles.  So it is a blessing or a curse (or curse and blessing), the radicals dug in, but they became trivialized.  On the other hand, one can claim that the scholars were trivial all along, but the difference between the scholars and the intellectuals, is that scholars get fascinated with "objects" of beauty, whereas intellectuals have a smaller and often times, more vicious agenda as far as their interests.  It is not so much an intellectual desire for revolution anymore that motivates intellectuals in academia, now it is more a knee-jerk reaction of preserving one's home territory.  The fighting is fiercest on the smallest ground.
Back to Top
Sponsored Links


Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2016 at 20:49
The human species is a social animal.  Most of our lives are based on cooperation.  We may not see or feel that we are working cooperatively but no ant knows it serves the queen.  When two ant colonies of the same species go to "war" how does it serve the species?   If you think that any analogy with ants is preposterous in that simple instincts do not represent the complexity of human behavior consider the following.

"These colonies conduct ritualized tournaments as a part of the defense of their foraging territories. Opposing colonies summon their worker forces to the tournament area, where hundreds of ants perform highly stereotyped display of fights. When one colony is considerably stronger than the other, in other words able to summon a larger worker force, the tournaments end quickly and the weaker colony is sacked. During the final incursions, the queen is killed or driven off and the larvae, pupae, callow and honeypot workers are transported to the raiders nest."  The Ants, Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson

Even if you accept a dualist view of scholars and intellectuals the relationship can be seen as co dependent.  If we take archeology as an example scientist who are oriented around intellectual curiosity may be needed to confirm the date of some object so that the scholar can then put in it's proper reference.  That of course is a crude example because the cooperation is obvious but in the broader scope of human endeavors few scholars or intellectuals are inclined to give full credit to the culture that makes their work possible.  Just like the ant we go about our lives without carrying or knowing why we do what we do.  Also like the ant we are unlikely to know or care when the culture that supports us is about to collapse.  

The same mindless, purposeless process that drives physical evolution drives cultural evolution to a large extent.  It is difficult for many people to accept that the mindless little protein engines and purposeless competitive neurons that our brains are constructed of could ever produce purpose.   Yet none of the inventions of man are as complex as a common ant who clearly has purpose.   You don't need a designer for a nearly perfect design to emerge.  As long as scholars and intellectuals are anchored to reality and reason and evidence are the environment in which their ideas evolve you only need some level of competition to produce beautiful ideas.  It is when they live in isolation and they are unwilling to endure the crucible of freedom of speech and have their ideas challenged that the worst aspects of authoritarianism arise something for which scholars and intellectuals are both known to embrace.

That scholars and intellectuals should be attracted to Marxism should come as no surprise because they live in a very simple world in which reductionist processes are proven to produce "truth".  Reducing the world to the same level of simplicity that scholars and intellectuals work in is unfortunately impossible.  Let's take one famous intellectual as an example, Albert Einstein.

Physics is nothing if not the reduction of the complex to simple equations.   Einstein was drawn to socialism as he explains in the following quote "I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils [of capitalism], namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.".  For Einstein it seems the appeal was to reduce the complexity of the social organism to a specific list of goals.  One of those humanitarian goals was to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.  Einstein however was not anchored in the realities of the complex interactions and consequence that an otherwise civilized instinct might produce.  If the U.S. had not dropped the atomic bomb on Japan the invasion may very well not have taken place until 1948 in which case most of the population of Japan would have starved.  Just as importantly his misplaced and naive trust in the motives of the Soviet Union would have exposed even more of the human population to the nearly genocidal policies of Stalin.  It is not inconceivable that the humanitarian disaster that took place in Korea would not have been duplicated in Japan.  It is also conceivable had he been less intellectual and more scholarly he would have been more aware of the atrocities in the Soviet Union and Stalin's indirect complicity in the final solution especially in Poland.  In the real world the road to hell is paved with good intentions.       
  
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2016 at 02:52
That is a problem with 'intellectuals.'  They assume that knowledge in one area translates into them knowing what they are talking about in another area.  This is particularly true with celebrities, they're surrounded by people who idolize them and hang on their every word.  Think of Tom Cruise feeling the need to criticize Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressents, as if it was his business at all.  But it is also true of people who feel they must have an opinion on everything and must share it.  We encourage that through polls and surveys and other "sociological constructions" trying to figure out people en masse.  Eventually, all this information will be used against "us," because it can.  Or maybe it is already being used against us, putting us into little boxes in which we are more manageable.
The scholar knows that his little niche of the world, may be wonderful, amazing, but at the same time it doesn't translate into a cry which will get youth to storm the barricades, and implement a new revolution.  The scholar is a creature of imagination who dreams of conversing with great men of old, or even with the angels, but that doesn't mean he can implement heaven on earth.  At best he can spur a few dedicated students to develop their own path, and encourage a greater number to wonder, "what if?"
In contrast the intellectual wants to change the world, and thinks they know how to do it with "acceptable" losses.  The saying, "you got to break a few eggs to make an omelette" is something they can toss off, without thinking at all about its meaning.
Of course, scholar and intellectual are part of a continuum, some may trend one way or the other, more or less.  "Scientist" can be like either one, remote and theoretical, or studying obscure things like sea cucumbers, or technical, working on practical applications. 
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2016 at 05:50
You need to name some names.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2016 at 00:43
Most Straussians would be scholars, Leo Strauss wrote works advocating Xenophon's view of Socrates, and Aristophanes' view of Socrates (Xenophon wrote Socratic dialogues just as Plato did, Aristophanes was a comedy writer who poked fun at Socrates, but also gives us insight into an earlier Socrates than Plato and Xenophon do).  Modern philosophers tend to look only at Plato when asking who Socrates was.  They want Plato's view to be true because it is so beautiful, whereas Strauss considers Xenophon important because he Xenophon is less complex, a military man with less of an agenda in presenting a view of Socrates than a philosopher like Plato.  
 Strauss also considers Medieval Jewish philosophy, and his followers often look at Medieval Islamic philosophy.  Obscure topics but very interesting for the imagination, and wondering "what if?".  WEB Dubois talks about putting on his robes and talking with Aristotle or Marcus Aurelius.  Of course, probably the earliest example of this is Socrates in Plato's the Phaedo, talking about maybe when he dies he will be in the afterlife conversing with the heroes of the past, or maybe a deep dreamless sleep.
Allan Bloom was a Straussian, many Straussians do very careful translations of classic texts into English.
Does that help?
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2016 at 02:57
Isn't there a danger of conflating a technician with a scholar.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2016 at 00:13
Most scholars are in the humanities or areas related to the soft sciences.  As Sheldon says, "oh, the humanities!" I see a danger confusing a technician with a scientist, but not really a technician with a scholar.  Some scholars utilize technology in their personal bag of tricks, like ground penetrating radar, or infrared spectrometry, but they are more of a scholar putting to use this new technology, than a technician dabbling in scholarship, (imo).  Translation is an art, there is a saying (in Italian) that "the translator is a traitor," basically the translator has to decide what he is going to be faithful to, and what he is going to "betray."  Translation is not just a matter of applying a technique of translating one language to another.

Most scholars are not out to change the world, except in the sense that they want to insure that scholarly activity continues.  They have a loyalty to their 'kind' you might say, they want to insure that the world remains a place that will continue to allow them to exist.  So you generally are not going to hear their names, unless you are in the circles that they are in.  They may be quite famous _within_ the narrow circles they travel.

In general, scholars believe that Plato best understood Plato, Aristotle, Aristotle, Kant, Kant.  Great philosophers understood themselves infinitely better than we understand them, and at least in antiquity and the medieval period, where very careful about what they said.  Especially since they had worry about persecution, not just by the authorities, but also by the masses.  The ancients and the medievals don't make careless statements, and if you see a statement that seems careless, then there is probably something else going on there.
In contrast, intellectuals and moderns tend to believe that we understand Plato, better than Plato did, and if he really had had his act together, he would have said it like we say it.  Often instead of just dealing directly with the text, moderns like to interpret writings from modern agendas.  Say a Freudian angle, what was John Locke's relationship with his mother? and how did (subconsciously) influence his thought?  Eventually, you end up with absurdities like Homer or Chaucer were "anti-feminists," considering that there was no such thing as feminism in Homer's or Chaucer's time, it would have been very hard for them to be "anti" or against it.  Maybe misogynistic, although Homer is quite sympathetic with women, but not "anti-feminist."
Back to Top
toyomotor View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 15 Feb 2014
Location: Tasmania, AUST.
Status: Offline
Points: 4250
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2016 at 01:19
It's all Greek to me.  Wink

I think that everyone would believe that they know themselves better than anyone else knows them. How can anyone claim to understand the ancient scholars better then anyone else? I read, study and make my mind up as best I can, based on facts. Over the centuries there has been so much discussion about what the ancients wrote, what they meant, whether or not it was the truth, exageration or fiction. Take the example of Atlantis. Was Plato writing a factual account or fiction? Was he simply passing on a myth that he had learned? I don't know, but I sense rather than know, that Atlantis may have existed near the pillars of Hercules. Does that make me a scholar, an intellectual or none of the above?
Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2016 at 17:06
That's a really good example, here in Plato's Timaeus, you have this very heavy philosophy concerning cosmology, in other words, the creation and the nature of the cosmos.  There is stuff that is as dense in Plato, but probably nothing more dense, nothing harder, and attached to it and its fragmentary sequel, the Critias, there is this myth of Atlantis.  No one knows what to make of both combined.  Some people play with the myth, others (modern scholars) tend to the cosmology.  Did Plato just throw these two together? or was their some method to his madness?

I would venture to guess that you are an amateur, you play with this stuff out of love for it, and you are not constrained by publish or perish.  Professionals tend to go after the easy questions, something that will create an article or a book.  They cannot afford to be bogged down in questions they cannot answer.  Again, if they don't publish, they perish.  Of course, what they do may seem very complex, but it is not something that gives them a brick wall and no traction.

As far as Atlantis is concerned, we want Atlantis to be true, what does that say?  Seriously, what does that say??
Atlantis is not "fictional," the ancient Greeks did not have fiction.  They had poetry and myth and that is something different.  When the Air Calvary comes down upon the Vietnamese village, playing Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries in "Apocalypse Now," that shows a truth that goes beyond mere factual statements.  No Air Calv. unit ever came swooping in playing Wagner, but the scene still shows something true, perhaps even more true than just plain facticity.
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2016 at 20:02
If the point of this thread is to defend the humanities against the tide of popular science trained intellectuals we could just address the issue directly. The problem as I see it is that the humanities have largely become echo chambers for regressive liberalism. The sciences at least to some degree have built-in defenses against paradigms not based on evidence and reason. That said science is very poor at distinguishing between what is simply true and what is both true and on some relative scale important.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2016 at 03:09
I don't see the humanities as needing a defense, except maybe from "soft" science which threaten to bleach all the color out of humanity.  I do see a problem with the notion of progress which infects individuals who loose any idea of what progress is _for_.  That and scientism which sets science up as an idol to be worshipped.  I am not enamored with the idea of science for science's sake.  And I find it funny that people who have no notion of higher math should talk about black holes and assume that they know what they are talking about.  As Feyman said, 'if you think you know about particle physics, you probably don't.'
Are irrational numbers based on reason?  Is reason based on irrational numbers?  Maybe the existence of irrational numbers shows that when you get to the bottom of things, things are not rational?  Or rather, there is no bottom, for example, pi just keeps on going, and going, and going........
The good scientist realizes that science has its limitations.....
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2016 at 21:43
Basically defining science too narrowly may be the problem. If the soft sciences were committed to evidence and reason without bias then strict adherence to the scientific method could be overlooked. Of course many other areas within the humanities do not rely on evidence in the cause and effect sense.

We could say the humanities may not need defending in the same way baseball doesn't defending. That is to say if the things we enjoy must be justified in terms of practical application the rabbit hole becomes deep and twisting. To proceed in a constructive manner perhaps we need to limit the discussion to areas where the humanities claim to be of utility to other disciplines.

If we examine just the philosophical subset of the humanities a great deal of words has been expended defending it's ongoing relevance to science. Many people must feel that something needs defending. Do we need a philosophy of science?
Back to Top
toyomotor View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 15 Feb 2014
Location: Tasmania, AUST.
Status: Offline
Points: 4250
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Oct 2016 at 22:55
Do we need to be scholars in order to recognise intellectuals?
Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 01:22
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Do we need to be scholars in order to recognise intellectuals?


You can't really be an intellectual without being a scholar. Human intelligence is a collective enterprise something both public intellectuals and scholars would do well to remember.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 22:45
The goals of an intellectual and a scholar are different, a scholar wants to touch the minds of the past.  Whether it is directly relevant to the present (other than beauty) is another thing.  The intellectual wants use particular elements of the past and present to create the future.  That future being something that is more just, more humane, at least in the eyes of the intellectual.

A scholar may be interested in Sumerian grammar, in other words something that has no relevance in our "practical" world.  And intellectual may be interested in the old as well, but more often interested in it, through the cutting edge of theory today, such as Derrida on "aporeia" (an ancient Greek concept), a scholar might be interested in aporeia too, but more likely interested in what it meant to the ancient Greeks (historical reconstruction), rather than what it would mean as grist for the postmodern mill ('rational' reconstruction).
Toyomotor, intellectuals are those who are not just trying to use ideas to understand the world, but are trying to change it, on a large scale.  You occasionally hear people talking about a "cohort of allies" in academia.  By that they mean the postmodern, multicultural, feminist cabal that working for a new more just, more humane world where they're in charge.  IMO it is a brave new world, ala Huxley, but in their optimism, they don't seem to see that.  

Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 22:54
Historical reconstruction means what did an idea mean in its own time, what did Laissez faire mean to Adam Smith?  What did the phrase sub specie aeternae mean in the philosophy of Spinoza (from the aspect or perspective of eternity)?
Rational reconstruction means what does the idea mean now, as applied to modern economic conditions or how would sub specie aeternae be used in Heidegger system?  Rational reconstruction can be what would the founding fathers think about some modern issue?
Historical reconstruction means trying to understand a thinker as best as possible in his original context. Rational reconstruction means bring (him) up to modern times and applying (or misapplying) him for today.
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 2016 at 15:59
Today both intellectuals and scholars are publicly funded either through the educational system or grants. It is simply a matter of decency that they make some attempt to justify continued funding in the minds of the average taxpayer.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2016 at 01:12
In Denver, there used be a place that called itself an anti-profit bookstore.  it was interesting to go in there, a lot of hard core Marxist stuff, books by Lenin and Stalin, nothing I would want to buy, but it was interesting seeing it.  At one time, leftist intellectuals were out amongst the people, trying to foment revolution.  Maybe they would publish a newspaper, or books, maybe they would work for labor causes.  The '60s changed that, if you didn't want to go to Vietnam, you could go to the university, and hence the radicals flocked to the university, and to a great extent took it over.  Scholars like Allan Bloom were turned off by the rudeness and the radicalness of the activists coming in the university.  His Closing of the American Mind is his response to the take over of Cornell.  A lot of (rightwing) scholars have retreated from the university into think tanks.  Thomas Sowell or Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute are examples of conservative black scholars who have found a home in conservative think tanks.

I think that some of the leftist "attempts to justify continued funding" is a matter of justifying bad behavior in the name of shocking the middle class out of their "bourgeois" complacency, kind of like what artists do when they justify receiving NEA funds for such exhibits like 'piss Christ' or putting a shark in a tank of formaldehyde.  Is that what you mean by "a matter of decency"?  Maybe we should only support research that will conveniently fit on a bumper sticker?  The public may want to judge whether some area is "relevant," a problem though is their understanding may be too narrow, or their vision too short sighted.  They may be inclined to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.  But maybe that would be a good thing, get it out of the university, let it be free to sink or swim.  Maybe. 
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2016 at 02:13
Maybe retreating is how we got here.

The world is dramatically different than 1960. Intellectuals and scholars can both reach the public on the internet. Devoting an hour a day to a pod cast or YouTube video isn't that much to ask.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2016 at 22:24
But where are we???

I tend to think that scholars want to share (what they consider) neat things with the public.  Whereas intellectuals want to manipulate the public for their (the public's) own 'good.'  But that may be too much of a simplification.  It also seems like there is a question of who is ultimately responsible, the individual (self) or society.  If society is responsible, then society as it is, is the "problem" and manipulating society into order is the solution.  Except for immediate issues, I tend to look at politicians trying to 'solve' long range issues with an eye for skepticism and concern.  The law of unintended consequences can really rise up and bite us on the backside.
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2016 at 05:18
I have ran out of anything to say. I still don't understand how you can be an intellectual without being scholarly unless you are a fraud.
Back to Top
toyomotor View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 15 Feb 2014
Location: Tasmania, AUST.
Status: Offline
Points: 4250
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2016 at 11:04
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

I have ran out of anything to say. I still don't understand how you can be an intellectual without being scholarly unless you are a fraud.

Surely one must attain scholar status before being considered intellectual.

And where would you position an academic in this conversation?
Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Back to Top
wolfhnd View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 816
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2016 at 16:41
I know academic standards may not be what they used to be, dissertations for example are no longer given in Latin. That said today there is a need to specialize due to information overload the old standards are no longer practical.

To me anyone who acquires a PHD is a scholar by some minimal standard. Most academic professionals are therefore nominally scholars. Like everything else though some additional qualifications and expansion is required not just for individuals but unfortunately for some fields where standards have fallen below an arbitrary threshold.

To be a public intellectual your scholarship should extend to multiple fields. Simply being intelligent and well read doesn't make you a scholarly intellectual even if your logic and reason are impeccable. The quality of the evidence should define scholarship regardless of the topic you are addressing.

I'm not sure that there is any fool proof method to define when it is appropriate to label someone a scholar. There are too many variables. If you are simply following prescribed procedures and memorizing material then you may be a technician. It's how you string facts together through evidence and reason that elevates a technician to scholar.

Edited by wolfhnd - 30 Oct 2016 at 16:56
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2016 at 19:14
To me, whether someone is a scholar or an intellectual is a question of drive, what motivates the individual.  Does the individual want to know about the past, about past deeds and thoughts and how they motivated individuals throughout history?  What was it like to be a pagan? or an early Christian, say before the canonization of the New Testament, or an Israelite (a Jew or a Hebrew) in the first Temple period?  One could go on, wondering what it would be like, how to speak Sumerian, etc, etc.  Such things have little or no practical value in the modern world as we usually see it, but they can motivate someone to imagine what was, and in a sense what still is.  
 A monk is a scholar who is not an intellectual, their writings or copyings may some time be unearthed, but what they are doing it for, is not made for public discourse.  What I refer to as an intellectual may appear to be like a scholar, but really whatever they study is grist for the mill of their own opinion.  If you believe that there is nothing but opinion, then you might say (I don't) that there is nothing but intellectuals, albeit some are failed ones that never get heard of.  If you recognize that there are things that are higher than opinion (truth, beauty, love) then that's where the scholar is, or at least tries to be.  The scholar tends to look at the past, and may be mistaken as idealizing it, truth is the scholar pays attention to what is noble about 'the' past, but knows about its flaws as well.  The intellectual tends to look at the future, and focuses on what is ignoble about the past, wanting things to change, hoping for a utopia.  Their studies tend to be for that task, in service of their idealized future.  A problem with that idealized future is that justice in the present often gets put off for justice in the future, and thus the utopia can become a dystopia.  The scholar has an impossible task, to do justice to some aspect of human existence (usually past) but the scholar knows that it is impossible to "think like an (ancient) Egyptian."  The intellectual also has an impossible task, to conceive and create a utopia.  Problem is, many intellectuals think that their task is possible, whereas scholars generally know that resurrecting the past is not.
Of course, these two trends can be found in the same individual, what I am talking about is a logical distinction, but people aren't logical and can contain, to various degrees both tendencies.

Toyomotor, both scholars and intellectuals are found in academia, it used to be that intellectuals were more independent of the universities, whereas scholars were more bound by the university.  But again, in the United States, college students were exempt from the draft during Vietnam and there was a big push to make everything "relevant" in the University as well.  That meant the political activism of intellectuals (and pseudo-intellectuals) taking over for a time, and purging the ranks of academia, promoting certain areas (such as gender studies, race based studies, etc.) and marginalizing others (Classics, anything related to religion).  But classics is still there, adapting, adopting and for some keeping their head down and hoping for the best.  Both scholars and academics are still found in the university, although some noted individuals, as I said before, have been able to retreat to think tanks. 
Back to Top
toyomotor View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 15 Feb 2014
Location: Tasmania, AUST.
Status: Offline
Points: 4250
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2017 at 06:23
So, a scholar need not be an intellectual, and an intellectual need not be a scholar?

In which category would you put Stephen HAWKING?



Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Back to Top
franciscosan View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph


Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Location: Littleton CO
Status: Offline
Points: 2504
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2017 at 22:02
Hawking is a scientist.  Scholars are usually in the humanities.  Intellectuals are usually in the humanities, or the social sciences, but not from a quantitative analysis angle.  Intellectuals are usually more progressive and seek to be "relevant" to society.  They believe that things should be getting better, and they wring their hands about it getting worse.  Scholars believe that basically things don't change on the macro scale, or if they change, they change only gradually, as much down as up.  Sometimes the worst things come about, when someone gets it into their head that they want to "win," and all else falls by the wayside.  That doesn't mean that for the individual, things cannot change, for the scholar just because the world is going to heck in a hand basket doesn't mean you have to go with it.  For the intellectual, you are the sum of the forces acting on you, history, race, class, culture.  For the scholar, you as an individual can rise above all that, for what is called the "perennial" philosophy.  Scientists might believe in a version of that, but they also usually subscribe to a technological notion of progress.  You might say that things are getting better every day because we have incredible new toys with which to play.Clap
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.078 seconds.