Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Is Needed In Order to Have a Scholarly Dialogue

I recently listened to a lecture given by William Wilson. He provided a definition of what it means to have a scholarly dialogue. I liked his definition. I made some additions to it [in brackets], and I figured I would share it with you:

Simplistic as it may sound, the chief requirements for [scholarly] dialogue may be courage and honesty.

By courage, I mean:
  • The individual scholar's willingness to put his or her ego up for stakes,

  • [Diligently and objectively searching all possible perspectives and information on the topic,]

  • Abandoning long-cherished positions when necessary,

  • And acknowledging how and why one's mind has changed.

By honesty, I mean:
  • Citing other scholars accurately in context and crediting one's sources fully,

  • [Ideally using only those sources which are of the highest quality and credibility,]

  • Refusing on principle to distort the evidence or another scholar's view,

  • And not pretending to have an expertise one does not possess.

What do you think? Is there anything you would add or revise about this definition?

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