Note — Oct 11, 2020

The Fox and the Hedgehog, Polymathy’s Past and Future

Looks like a book I’d like to read but the review is also good on its own if you like polymaths, generalists, and transdisciplinarity. Peter Burke’s classification according to “active vs passive (depending on whether they produce knowledge or only absorb it), limited vs general (do they tend to work in related fields or roam freely?), simultaneous vs serial (do they pursue different kinds of knowledge at the same time or in succession?)” is intriguing.

The sheer amount of knowledge one possesses about the world, however wide it may be, is no guarantee that one has grasped what the world is, or how it works. […]

In an important sense, polymathy is boundlessness in action; it is part of the polymath’s job description to disregard disciplinary boundaries and conventions, labels and classifications. There is something rebellious and anti-establishment at the core of any polymathic project.