Sunday, September 16, 2007

Public intellectuals

Via Andrew Sullivan, I've found an interesting critique of the concept of the public intellectual, something of great interest to me as a wanabe public intellectual. On the one hand, the point is so obviously correct that it's embarrassing that the less competent intellectuals don't understand it: the modern state of the knowledge in every area is so complex that no one can understand it all, so it is ridiculous when, "the professor of genetic engineering, for example, pontificates about world politics or public policy." On the other hand, I fear the idea of writing off the idea of public intellectuals, the idea of ones who make good use of their expertise. Say what you will about intellectuals, I prefer them to a world of stupids.

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