“Specialists are overrated and too ubiquitous presently; we need more generalists”
"In this era of rapid social and technological change leading to increasing life complexity and psychological displacement, both positive and negative effects among persons in Western society call for a balance in which there are both specialists and generalists."
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Specialists point to specific usable information
Or do they?
Agreed that specialists prod the needy towards the light; however; the needy need to be able to access the right specialists; first. A cardiac surgeon cannot and will not help you if you have colitis.
While depth is all-important; it is best to begin by starting on the shallow side of the pool. Only a generalist can aid the less qualified in determining/assessing where/when it is best to swim in deep water, without risking the prospect of drowning.
The counterargument to the first no-point seems to balk at the very idea being relayed in the very point being addressed.
"Simply put, without specialists, our society would find itself bogged down in the Sargasso sea of information overload. While it was fine for early physicists to learn and understand the few laws and ideas that existed during their times, now, no one individual can possibly digest and assimilate all of the knowledge in any given area."[[G.R.E ISSUE SAMPLE ESSAY PARAGRAPH THREE]]
If everyone was a generalist than we would all carry bits and pieces of rather useless superficial content. In sum, No one would be able to help anyone.
In defense of generalists
"Over specialization means narrow focii in which people can lose the larger picture.No one can hope to understand the human body by only inspecting one's own toe-nails. What we learn from a narrow focus may be internally logically coherent but may be irrelevant or fallacious within the framework of a broader perspective. Further, if we inspect only our toe-nails, we may conclude that the whole body is hard and white. Useful conclusions and thus perhaps useful inventions must come by sharing among specialists. Simply throwing out various discovieries means we have a pile of useless discoveries, it is only when one can make with them a mosaic that we can see that they may form a picture.
Not only may over-specialization be dangerous in terms of the truth, purity and cohesion of knowledge, but it can also serve to drown moral or universall issues. Generalists and only generalists can see a broad enough picture to realize and introduce to the world the problems of the environment. With specialization, each person focusses on their research and their goals. Thus, industrialization, expansion, and new technologies are driven ahead. Meanwhile no individual can see the wholisitc view of our global existence in which true advancement may mean stifling individual specialists for the greater good of all.
Finally, over-specialization in a people's daily lives and jobs has meant personal and psychological compartmentalization. People are forced into pigeon holes early in life (at least by university) and must conciously attempt to consume external forms of stimuli and information in order not to be lost in their small and isolated universe. Not only does this make for narrowly focussed and generally pooprly-educated individuals, but it guarantees a sense of loss of community, often followed by a feeling of psychological displacement and personal dissatisfaction.
Without generalists, society becomes inward-looking and eventually inefficient. Without a society that recongnizes the impotance of braod-mindedness and fora for sharing generalities, individuals become isolated. Thus, while our form of society necessitates specialists, generalists are equally important. Specialists drive us forward in a series of thrusts while generalists make sure we are still on the jousting field and know what the stakes are."
[[G.R.E ISSUE SAMPLE ESSAY PARAGRAPHS four-to-seven]]
This was asserted earlier; specialists are confined to a box and fail to see the bigger picture because they have a very specialized and myopic lens to peek through.
However the point to the left; ignores the indisputable fact that every specialist augurs as a generalist. The notion that any one person is holistically and entirely restricted to a specialized discipline is practically bunkum. No matter how deep we go in a particular area of knowledge we do not lose a sense of what is generally known or understood.
Specialist doctors have all attained degrees professing proficiency in general medicine prior to post graduate study. While none of us retain everything ; even generalists need a memory jog, refresher course or a big fat pile of textbooks to refer to, every once in a while. No one person or part of what Durkheim would call the body of the whole; can function optimally without reliance on other organs. Codependent interdependence is the order of the day. Not even a generalist can work in isolation.
We need specialists; because no one person can amass general knowledge on everything and some how manage to give/share/retain crucial, expert and detailed data as well.
"Specialists are necessary in order to allow society as a whole to properly and usefully assimilate the masses of new information and knowledge that have come out of research and have been widely disseminated through mass global media. As the head of Pharmacology at my university once said (and I paraphrase):"I can only research what I do because there are so many who have come before me to whom I can turn for basic knowledge. It is only because of each of the narrowly focussed individuals at each step that a full and true understanding of the complexities of life can be had. Each person can only hold enough knowledge to add one small rung to the ladder, but together we can climb to the moon." This illustrates the point that our societies level of knowledge and technology is at a stage in which there simply must be specialists in order for our society to take advantage of the information available to us."-[[GRE-prep-sample issue essay second paragraph]]
What is being asserted in the very lengthy paragraph above is that specialists are required to examine and explain minute details that generalists cannot fathom because they/we have other multifarious aspects/ideas in our heads. We need specialists because they alone understand their subject/field/specialty beyond the crux and to the core. There are questions that generalists fail to answer because they work with a broad spectrum of ideas. They, therefore do not have or draw in a complete comprehensive grasp of any particular aspect of this spectrum. Specialists may not be well-rehearsed on the entire face of a field but are more useful than generalists, because the faction they have specialized in; they know like the back of their hand with sedulous precision. Generalists cannot posses nor convey such punctilious expertise.
Agreed that specialists alone, can interpret,explain and effectively utilize the small print spangled with lead weight professional jargon. Generalists even without a holistic grasp of the content that specialists relay can understand it better than the layperson.
Generalists are not without function and are essential in mediating between the person with little/no understanding of a field and one with a very intensive and intricate understanding of a specific portion of the field.
Specialists maintain a myopic visualization of a subject as they are restricted to narrowed down very detailed material. For example; A podiatrist cannot explain or address a neurological issue. S/he is entirely focused on his/her patient's feet and anything else that can be related to the persons feet. It is arduous for him/her to properly probe/diagnose a disease that has nothing to do with feet; as while this person began with generalist training s/he culminated to thinking within a very complex box losing the ability to think outside of it.
A general practitioner however, can identify/diagnose a disease and send the patient to the right and relevant specialist even without being a specialist himself/herself. In this era of information explosion and vast internet resources; the need for middlemen who can simplify and extract the data that you need and can use for your benefit, is more dire than ever before.
Vs In defense of generalists
Firstly over-specialization makes is non-sense concept. Even the synthesis of the concepts of “over” and “specialization” is a superfluous notion. Especially because specialization implies a master of some type of knowledge and to say and over master, reeks of forced cohesion.
For it is silly to say that someone understand a topic too much. The presumption is supposed to be that that because of this specialization they may lack of the ability to recognize a where they are in a general or holistic few. But all we have here is a presumption of the possibility that someone may not see the whole. The problem is that such a claim depends on someone being justified to claim that they see the whole which is a very tough sell in its own right. Secondly your argument is nothing but a bunch of Maybes and bold assertion with no supporting premises. This is nothing but a slippery slope of maybe one big slippery slope. Base on a concept that is short of complete coherence. Another problem is that they position itself suggest a motive based from jealousy. Not saying it is, but it enough to not discount. That is it is very popular for the casual specialist, to claim against those of more education. For it is already popular for people not educated to make claims to have some other special form of intelligence. And nobody should think otherwise upon demonstration.
Another reason to be suspicious is because the notion of intelligence has an authorative connotation on in relation to making decisions, thus giving a sense of inferiority to someone who does not have this recognition. Not that they don’t have the talent but that it creates a bias in favour of discrediting the specialist. In some form or another. It a common form of Anti-intellectualism. A popular type of hate which became popular since the romantic age, the problem is that the specialist is always out numbered.
Of course it possible for someone to not see the big picture, but you have not yet given an argument why this is in fact particular to the specialist only. Good luck with that one.
What do you think?