Abstract

The following represents an amplification of some rather poorly expressed remarks made at the panel on Chinese Studies and the Disciplines at the recent meeting of the Association for Asian Studies.

The essential point (banal but nevertheless true) is that whatever a man's discipline, the broader and deeper his general culture—his “general education,” the more willing he is to bring whatever wisdom he has to bear on the subject he is treating. Whether this wisdom derives from the “methodology” of his discipline or not, it increases the likelihood of his saying something significant. Conversely, the mechanical application of an isolated “discipline” narrowly conceived in terms of a selfcontained “model” or “system” to a culture (whether contemporary or “traditional”) which has not been studied in any of its other aspects by a person of limited culture may lead to sterile and even preposterous results.

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