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No Field Of Study Can Advance Significantly Unless It Incorporates Knowledge And Experience From Outside That Field. - With A Free Essay Review

"Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position."

The claim seems at first too absolute, and one can say that philosophy and natural sciences like mathematics can advance in the absence of knowledge and experience from other field of study. And they certainly could, in the childhood of human civilization, when such disciplines developed without any help from other areas, for they are the very first disciplines we studied. However, despite the fact that they could develop in the very early period, it still is the fact that their significant advancing does require knowledge and experience from outside their fields. So, in my opinion, there is not a field of study which can advance significantly without incorporating knowledge and experience from outside that field.

It is true that the generating of a field of study might need no other helps from outside that field, as I have already said above; but to advance significantly goes further than the early recognition and rather skin-deep consideration on problems. Also take mathematics for example: besides some very first axioms which can be said to come from people's common sense and intuition, other conclusions almost [always] came out after some people had taken some suggestive experience from other fields, for instance, probability theory is highly developed with the help of gamblers' knowledge. And I think an important reason why a field of study needs help from outside that field to advance significantly is that there is quite a narrow space for a discipline to develop without incorporating knowledge from other areas. Knowledge from outside a field sometimes acts as a flush of new blood, which can give people in that field a broader horizon, help them to see new problems, and enlighten them with new ideas.

Opponents may argue that knowledge and experience from outside a field may be disturbing, even misleading information which can distract people who devote themselves to that field; thus, it is highly possible that a field can advance significantly and better without any outside help. I agree that there does exist a kind of risk in incorporating with knowledge and experience from the outside, but it does not mean that the incorporation is unnecessary. As a matter of fact, when a discipline is developing, what it treasures most is different ideas, or even ideas that contradict its own and facts that can place some of its conclusions into doubt. Only in this way can the discipline find out its faults, and only after knowing its defects, can it have the chance to improve to a more advanced level.

Thus, without incorporating knowledge and experience from outside a field, I think it is almost impossible for that field to advance significantly.


Essay Review

You acknowledge, rightly, in the first sentence of your essay, the unconditional and absolute character of the claim. The difficulty with claims of this kind is that they are difficult to prove (a single counterexample being sufficient to disprove them), so it takes some courage to side, as you have done, with the original claim; but I wonder whether it might not be wiser to soften the claim a little. You could claim, for example, that it is unlikely that a field of study could advance significantly without incorporating knowledge and experience from outside that field. This claim is weaker, but the task of proving it is consequently easier. The arguments typically advanced in favor of the first claim would likely be stronger proof of the second claim.

Your first argument begins about halfway through your second paragraph. Since that paragraph begins by repeating a point made in the first paragraph, and since that point is only an assertion with no argumentative value, I would recommend dropping it and getting straight to your first argument. That would also mean deleting or postponing your example from the field of mathematics. (In case it's not clear, your paragraph would then begin with the sentence "[] I think an important reason why ..."; continue with the sentence "Knowledge from outside a field ... "; and then you can add the sentence "Take mathematics for example ... ." Assuming that I've correctly identified the missing word from the example (you will see that I've put my guess in brackets in your essay), then in two of these sentences you make good use of qualification: you say "almost always" instead of "always" and you say "sometimes acts" instead of "acts." These kinds of qualified claims are more believable, but they are also more appropriate to the weaker version of your thesis suggested above.

Your characterization of how disciplines develop, I suspect, should also be subject to some qualification. It is true that mathematics, for instance, is prompted to make advances by needs that come from outside mathematics (in physics, say, or, as you note, gambling) but it may be also an example of a discipline very good at finding out its own faults.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Michael


Hi there, I don't think I get the proper approach to this prompt, actually I think this one is rather difficult to me, I mean it's a little too abstract. Could you please give me some hints on this prompt? Thank you
August,11 2012

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