2008년 2월 25일 월요일

Learning and Research

Confucius said: "At fifteen my heart was set on learning" (Analects 2:4). Quoting this, Professor Park asked, "I presume you all are older than 15. Is your heart set on learning?" Silence ensued. Finally, he said, "You are scientists; you should love learning."

Then I said, "Learning is not what scientists do. Scientists learn just enough so that they can do research." The professor thought about it for a while; then he said, "I think such reply is only possible from one who is into the discipline. Thank you."

Is this a difference between scientists and philosophers? Is it a good thing that most scientists don't bother to learn outside of their specialties? Was my reply that unexpected? Science, after all, is about producing knowledge, not consuming it.

댓글 1개:

James :

Sanghyeon,

I really appreciate having a student who is ready to engage in a dialogue about the nature of learning; it makes class fun. I am sure your other teachers feel the same.

In terms of your question, though, I think that I would reply that this is just a semantic matter; that is, scientists must love indeed love learning, else why would they bother to do the research? Just because you are teaching yourself does not mean that you are not 'learning.' In fact, that sort of learning is precisely what teachers hope for- self-directed, autonomous learning. We all hope to encourage students to begin setting and meeting their own learning goals without the need for us to prod them, which is perhaps one true measure of a maturing mind.

James