Ibn Hazm (d. 1064) on Specialization of Knowledge

“He who limits himself to one science and does not acquaint himself with the others will be a laughingstock and will be missing more from his own specialty than what he knows of it. For the sciences are all connected with one another. On the other hand, he who seeks to encompass all the sciences is almost detruncated, removed from knowledge, and unable to achieve anything; he is like a buyer with no fixed goal: a lifetime falls short of attaining that. Rather, the student should take up a little of each science if only to the extent of knowing the objective of each one. Afterwards, he should take up what is most indispensable, as we said above. It is only then that he should devote himself to the science in which he excels with all his natural inclinations, and all means at his disposal, and should master it to the best of his ability. This may mean two, three, or fewer sciences, depending on the degree of his natural sagacity, his power of understanding, his persistent inclination, and his devotion to study.”—Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), Maratib al-‘Ulum


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