[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
May 16, 1959

THE CHALLENGE OF SPECIALIZATION IN BASIC MEDICAL SCIENCE

Author Affiliations

Hanover, N. H.

Director of Medical Sciences and Professor of Physiology, Dartmouth Medical School.

JAMA. 1959;170(3):298-300. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010030042012
Abstract

Successful scientific investigation has thrived with the motto "divide and conquer." Only by dividing and subdividing major problems into manageable parts has it been possible to obtain definitive data which, when interpreted, could be resynthesized to answer the original question. Overwhelming testimony provided by the history of science has affirmed this fundamental technique, but at the same time there has arisen a criticism broadly recognized as a limitation of general discovery which is apparantly the product of the classic strategy. We need only recall the trenchant analysis of Slawkenbergius' treatise on noses to sense the caricature of specialization in the public mind. The basic issue, then, is not whether specialization has been or will continue to be necessary to the advance of scientific knowledge but, rather, whether there is some feature implicit in the system which has been detrimental to the greater good.

Specialization Leads to Generalization  Whitehead has stated,

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×