The Scholar

A scholar knows what is known by others. Scientists make discoveries, and researchers gather information, but scholars “keep the books”; they maintain an awareness of all the research that has been and is being done on a subject. Scholars can be scientists or researchers too, of course, but we should keep their functions and responsibilities distinct. The scholar’s job is to review the literature and keep it up-to-date. On issues that are being debated, the scholar must have an understanding of both sides of the question and must be able to represent each fairly. The scholar must also have a good sense of the history of the question and the interests that drive our inquiries into them. This awareness can sometimes make it difficult for the scholar to make up their own mind. But, ideally, the scholar will also take a postion. After all, the scholar knows what is known. Scholars hold their beliefs within a totality of beliefs held by other knowledgeable people. With all that knowledge, it would be distressing if the scholar didn’t know what to believe! How would you or I decide?

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