Dilettantism

Article

August 11, 2022

Dilettantism, or amateurism (from Italian dilettante ← lat. delectatio "amusement, fun") - engaging in any activity (for example, science, art, craft) without proper knowledge and professional training. Dilettantism has its strengths and weaknesses. The weak side is that the amateur does not have deep knowledge about the subject of his studies, therefore he makes mistakes. As a rule, this is a person who limits the scope of knowledge by his own experience, or whose judgments about something are based on superficial knowledge. The strong side is that his thoughts are free for new combinations, without being paralyzed in advance by the tradition of the school. Amateur (amateur f., Italian.) - a hunter, lover, a person involved in music, art, art, not by trade, but by inclination, by hunting, for fun. Amateurs successfully operated in many sciences during their formation: in thermodynamics (doctors R. Mayer and G. Helmholtz), in mathematics (lawyers P. Fermat and G. Leibniz), in cybernetics (psychiatrist R. Ashby), in genetics (priest G. Mendel). Amateurs achieved some success in other areas as well, such as I. P. Kulibin in technical invention and construction, V. N. Tatishchev in history, geography and economics, Heinrich Schliemann in archeology. At the same time, Schliemann's archaeological work demonstrates that an amateurish approach can also cause direct harm: his excavations caused significant damage to those of the cultural layers he excavated that did not interest him (which, however, was generally typical for excavations of that time). A typical example of the activity of amateur mechanics is the construction of a perpetual motion machine: it is scientifically proven and well known that it is impossible, but attempts of this kind do not stop.

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Herzen A. I. "Amateurism in Science" Kuzmin D. V. "Outcasts and professionals" Paradoxes of science: "Amateur-specialist"