By David Warfield Brown (auth.)
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Extra resources for America’s Culture of Professionalism: Past, Present, and Prospects
2 But Dewey’s “man” was an abstraction—he didn’t exist. He never will. ”3 And that is why the coming of credentialed expertise has flourished and compensated for everyone’s ignorance about most things. Adam Smith’s analysis of why productivity increases under the division of manual labor can also be applied to the division of mental labor. 4 The advance of knowledge was spectacular for the very reason that its pursuit was organized without the ambition that anyone could possess all that was to be found.
She went on: “In my interdisciplinary field, where art and philosophy meet, the focus is always on the questions, rather than providing a single reliable answer. ”23 Philosopher Elizabeth Minnich told me that her father Andrew Kamarch, an economist, warned 34 ● America’s Culture of Professionalism of confusing precision with accuracy. Minnich argues: “The problem is when any one mode of study is taken to be more than it is, as models have in some arenas. . . . ”24 Minnich also offered a telling case about ruling assumptions: I was once in a discussion with professors from several fields who were interested in developing a women’s studies PhD in their own field.
56 Robert Westbrook offered a useful summary of the progressive era: “The democratic realists of the twenties focused their criticism of democracy on two of its essential beliefs: the belief in the capacity of all men for rational public action, and the belief in the practicality and desirability of maximizing the participation of all citizens in public life. ”57 Credentialed experts in government often treated “politics” as more the problem than the solution. When such experts focused on the substance of an issue without considering the politics, they pursued a necessary reductionism to eliminate the unmanageable number of variables that politics required.