A short remark on specialization in professional philosophy

Public discourse on the nature of philosophy and the future of the philosophy profession currently divides into two camps. One pushes for philosophy to somehow be more public, to move away from specialization by reaching out to the masses. The other holds that the future of philosophy is bound to be more specialized, with different kinds of philosophy available for different subfields, categories of individuals, or even different economic sectors.

Behind the latter view is a pair of assumptions about the nature and understanding of wholes: 1) that wholes are sums of their parts, and 2) that consequentially, distinct knowledge of a whole is built up from, and thus presupposes, distinct knowledge of its parts.

Both of these assumptions are false.

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