Re-reading Interdisciplinarity

As I was re-reading Moran’s Interdisciplinarity, I came across something that I found very interesting; according to how the Greeks organized subjects into a hierarchy, the lowest subjects included “the fine arts, poetics and engineering” (Moran, 3).  I assumed before reading that the fine arts would be on the bottom, but I could not believe that engineering was too!  As mentioned in one of my previous posts, my sister is praised by many for going to school for aeronautical engineering-everyone thinks she is very intelligent for doing so.  Engineering is one of the fields that everyone thinks highly of, so I found it very interesting that engineering was on the bottom of the list, according the Greeks.  I didn’t see this the first time through reading Interdisciplinarity, but I am glad that I picked up on it this time around.

One Reply to “Re-reading Interdisciplinarity”

  1. I would attribute the impasse between Greeks’ low placement of engineering compared to our culture’s high esteem of it to two different meanings of the word, or at least different uses of the skills. The Greeks favored subjects like philosophy because they consist of analyzing and synthesizing information that we can’t touch or see– debating on religion, politics and the like require a particular kind of thinking that they admired. Engineering, while a valuable skill, in the eyes of the philosophers would have been taking somebody else’s plans and making them a reality. They did not dabble in the metaphysical, or the unanswerable questions that philosophers (the ones who created that list, remember) loved. It should also be noted that in ancient Greece there was no aeronautical engineering. I think that’s a crazy awesome thing to do because I know what it is and I understand it’s value, but Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and the others had no conception of what airplanes or rockets were. Maybe if they had had experience with that aspect of engineering they may have been more impressed.

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