oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Intellectual silos and broad-based understanding

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



One of the issues in university education is what breadth of understanding is reflected in both the teaching and research. There is a regrettable tendency for academics, having become great experts in their own field, to then remain bunkered down in those fields for ever - indeed often taking a remarkably narrow view even of these specialist fields. This narrow world view is then transmitted to the students, together with an intolerance for other views, or at least an undervaluing of their worth. Many examples can be given from many disciplines: one classic example was the way the world of psychology fell prey to Watson's very narrow views on behaviourism; another is the disdain expressed in some literary circles for scientific thought; a third is the similar disdain expressed by some pure mathematicians for applied mathematics, or theoretical particle physicists for more applied physics.

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