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Thomas Brucia

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Is the exploration of history worthwhile without practical applications?

People say that travel has positive value. Does learning about men and women long dead, civilizations now extinct, nations defunct, battles forgotten, technologies superseded, and so on have any value? And is the value inherent (as some claim seeing a Flemish oil painting, wandering in a Romanesque cathedral or listening to a Bach cantata are), or should we shut out the past and concentrate on 'problem solving' and 'the challenges of the future'....?

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    Oct 18 2011: To the first part of the question: Is history valuable in itself? Study of history is the study of evolution, a lot of what we do today has its seed in history. Including our architecture, art, science, religion etc. History can be seen as an extension of your experience lived or otherwise. if someone burnt their hand on a hot plate, we know from that persons history that it was a bad experience. Also if you extend history far enough it becomes evolutionary science and the big bang. Also a lot of people might just enjoy studying history.

    Second part of the question, should we concentrate on problem solving? well there's enough of us in the world to be doing all sorts of things. one doesn't preclude the other. in terms of degrees, i would personally look at problem solving first and see whatever we need to study to solve problems, if its the future so be it, but i think a lot of the time, it will involve studying the past.

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