Basic science

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As base - fundamental or basic science are those sciences referred to a study form the know moderate or philosophical assumptions.

Today, opinions differ widely as to which of the topics and specialist areas belong to the foundations of a degree or an adequate training. There are four reasons for this:

  1. the effect of financial bottlenecks and socio-political conflicts
  2. the question of basic research , which is increasingly falling behind at universities in favor of applied research (not only because of budgetary needs)
  3. the broad fragmentation of the previously more compact subject areas
  4. the relocation of some, especially technically applicable, cutting-edge research to industry . At the same time, the often broadly based scientific academies only teach a small amount of teaching compared to the university institutes and can therefore have less of an impact on the next generation of researchers.

Basic knowledge in antiquity and the Middle Ages

In ancient times , the framework of basic sciences a. a. shaped by the Platonic Academy , where logic , rhetoric and mathematics were of great importance. Above the entrance to "Akademia Grove" was μηδεῖς εἴσιτοω ἀγεομὲτρικος : "No to the geometry outsider to enter here!" The curriculum included the scientific fields of astronomy , biology and mathematics, and philosophy (rather in the general sense.) And the political Theory . From this it can be concluded that in addition to logic, reasoning and geometry / mathematics , Plato also required the art of motivating oneself and a basic knowledge of philosophy.

Plato and Aristotle versus Sophism

Plato turned against the view of the sophists , who viewed philosophy as available knowledge, as a commodity that can be passed on to students - something our time tends to do with increasing courses and regulation of curricula . For Plato, philosophy was a lifelong striving for knowledge, but by no means to qualify for the job market . Even for Socrates was the research , testing and disproving the conversation a prerequisite and einzuübende living.

Under Plato and Aristotle , every wisdom seeker (i.e. philosopher) was expected to be

  1. want to know as much as possible (scientific curiosity without trying to get to the details);
  2. can assess the difficulties, which is not easily comprehensible to humans (with Ignatius this gift has to do with the " discernment of spirits ");
  3. In every science and art he should be considered the wiser who is able to teach more precisely and the causes
  4. Among the sciences, that which is sought “for its own sake (of knowledge)” is wisdom to a greater degree than that which is sought for another purpose;
  5. Another principle (see 1st web link) sounds closer to our time than the four above:
The more guiding and dominating science is more wisdom, because the wise man (the master and specialist in an art) should not allow himself to be ordered, but should in turn make the arrangements. One can understand this as a kind of "dictate of the economy", but the antiquity did not see this knowledge and the connoisseurship in its purest form poietic , thus no practical ability related to the production of things and goods , but of a theoretical nature: there it is not is sought for external benefit, it alone is free . It is also of a divine nature, because on the one hand a god is able to possess it most and on the other hand it has the divine as its object - because God applies to all for a cause and a principle (see also “ First Cause ”).

Middle Ages: Trivium and Quadrivium

Philosophy is a loving approach to the truth. "( Dante Alighieri )

In the Christian Middle Ages , the preparatory studies of the trivium and the quadrivium were placed before an academic course of study - for which a visit to several universities was also recommended . Like Aristotle and the ancient schools of wisdom, no paths to philosophy (joy in knowledge, love of knowledge) were seen without the prerequisites of the " seven liberal arts " ( Artes liberales , also "dialogical subjects"):

  • Grammar (= Latin),
  • Dialectic (= logic),
  • Rhetoric (= speaking and writing letters). Furthermore:
  • Arithmetic (= the quantities as such),
  • Geometry (the immovable quantities),
  • Astronomy (partly also astrology) and
  • Music (theory) as an expression of cosmic harmony .

The first three - the trivium - were considered to be a basic course , while the last four were part of the advanced course ( quadrivium ).

Study and academic curriculum

For a study of the Liberal Arts presented the education (if any) usually not out. Was required u. a. in-depth knowledge of the Latin language and literature , which many were able to acquire in the cathedral schools . A few years of Bible study , basic grammar and reading of works by ancient and late ancient pagan and Christian authors (e.g. Eugippius , Thomas Aquinas ) represented the middle level of the teaching.

The Trivium (three-way) based on this was formulated by Isidore of Seville (7th century). As “word knowledge”, it was the basic course at the artist faculty in the Middle Ages and mostly completed with a bachelor's degree .

The system of the Quadrivium (the four-way) goes back to Boethius († around 525) and Cassiodor (Institutiones around 560). With the Magister Artium on this "numerical knowledge", the graduate was authorized to teach at the artist faculty - which today has a distant relationship to the tutor or study assistant .

About 30% of all enrolled students left the university with a bachelor's degree, barely 20% with a master's degree . The remaining half went as it came: as simple scholares without a degree - comparable to today's college dropouts. A small percentage of the Masters remained at the universities, as assistants and later lecturers .

Transition to modern times

Towards the end of the 13th century , some representatives of "Aristotelian" - u. a. Siger von Brabant and Boethius von Dacien - a new ethic or a philosophical ideal of life , for example in the writings De summo bono (“About the highest good”) or De vita philosophi . According to this, the highest human good ( happiness ) consists in the use of the highest human ability , reason . A distinction is made between

  • theoretical reason (knowing what is true)
  • practical reason (acting on what has been known). From this you can
  • derive the spiritual self-development (intellectual observation as the highest goal, happiness and good of the person). This transition phase to modern times already anticipates some aspects of the Enlightenment and the educated middle class.

Basic knowledge today

As noted at the beginning, opinions are now divided as to what belongs or should belong to basic knowledge. A rather trivial view is to include all those skills and knowledge that are required to successfully complete a university degree . In general, these are - in addition to the necessary intelligence and social maturity - at least

This can be seen, for example, in the discussion on the subject of Latin in secondary schools and in the humanities and medical faculties on the subject of Greek . Historical knowledge and a basic level of rhetoric (see also lecture technique) and dialectics are desirable, but are usually not seen as a condition at the beginning of the course. The discussion about the so-called orchid subjects and their structural weakening has to do with the unmistakable trend of basic ⇒ applied research .

The technical university has apparently easier access to basic knowledge: logical thinking, basic knowledge of mathematics and physics , and (instead of the earlier Latin) English are required . In fact , knowledge of IT can also be assumed. Interestingly, however, many students should recognize their humanities deficits, as the popularity of corresponding electives shows. In this regard, the former technical colleges have been expanded to become universities - i. H. its structural addition to “ anthropology ” (philosophy, sociology, culture of conversation, etc.) and economics .

Sources and web links

Individual evidence

  1. from philosophy ... what is that? - In 2500 years from ignorance to an explosion of void knowledge. quoted