Interdisciplinary Studies: Its Importance

I recall two conversations with friends from the education sector. One stated that a teacher inevitably would expound on morality and ethics, be that explicitly (upfront) or implicitly (tacit). The other, a Literature teacher agreed with me (the historian) that all study eventually proved interdisciplinary.

This echoes Charles Percy (C.P.) Snow (1905-1980) – ‘a British novelist, scientist, and government administrator.’ He gave a 1959 Rede Lecture entitled <The Two Cultures>. He opined that the utter disconnect between the Sciences (one culture) and the Humanities (another culture) impeded solutions to global challenges. From another angle, this syncs with what Rohan Pasari (co-founder of educational consultancy Cialfo) mentioned of Apple’s Steve Jobs. He said:

Technology alone is not enough – it’s technology married with the liberal arts … that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.’

In the same article, <Liberal arts can offer skills for life>, Pasari also cited then Education Minister Heng Swee Kiat who proposed a change of education focus from ‘less about content knowledge’ to ‘more about how to process information’. In North America, a 2013 employer survey by The Association of American Colleges and Universities found 93% assenting to the notion that ‘critical thinking’, effective ‘problem solving’, and precise conveyance of information are more crucial than one’s undergraduate discipline (subject). [The exception being that of lawyers, engineers, accountants, and healthcare professionals.] Bard College (New York, US) President Leon Botstein goes to state:

We live in a time where people don’t really believe in education, and they don’t believe in the liberal arts… They don’t believe in studying something that isn’t practical. Where in fact, everything you learn is unbelievably practical, because it allows you to negotiate life wherever you are.

And it is such well rounded intellectual development that allowed Italian academics Massimo Amato and Luca Fantacci (both at the Università Bocconi, Italy) to critique the current financial ecosystem from a phenomenological [science of phenomena (occurrence) as distinct from that of the nature of being – adapted from English Oxford Living Dictionaries entry] and ontological [branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being – English Oxford Living Dictionaries entry. This has links to the philosophy of Existentialism] in their 2009 book <Fine della finanza>. This translated into English is <The End of Finance>, published by Polity Press in 2012.

References:

Charles (CP) Snow (1905-1980). Alumni: Christ’s College Cambridge. https://alumni.christs.cam.ac.uk/c.p-snow.

Liberal arts can offer skills for life. (4 Sep 2014). MyPaper. (now defunct)

Anya Kamenetz. (21 Jun 2014). A Former Drug Dealer Gives A Great Defense Of The Liberal Arts. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/06/21/315235978/a-former-drug-dealer-gives-a-great-defense-of-the-liberal-arts. NPR.

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