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Not sure I agree with this claim about intellectuals, but it is interesting : http://www.sartre.org/Articles/Thevanishedintellectual.htm

Intellectuals differ from ordinary academics in holding that the truth is best approached not by producing new knowledge, but by destroying old belief. When the Enlightenment philosophers renovated the old Christian slogan, “The truth shall set you free”, they imagined a process of opening doors, not building barricades.

In short, intellectuals want their audiences to think for themselves, not simply shift allegiances from one expert to another. The intellectual’s ethic is both exhilarating and harsh, for it places responsibility for thinking squarely on the thinker’s shoulders. Every act of deference thus becomes an abdication of one’s own intellectual authority.

More from SteveFuller :

Interesting position, though I seem to remember that scientists are actually quite late-comers to public discourse. Wasn't there a generation of pop-sociologists in the 60s and 70s?

A strange motif appeared on the skype of the COO of my employer recently : intellectuals merely solve problems, genius avoids them. While avoiding rather than solving problems is often a good thing, who in their right mind believes that intellectuals solve problems? Leave that to the engineers and practical people. The job of intellectuals is to discover new problems, which is a pain in the ass in the short-term but, in the long term is an essential driver of any kind of progress or cultural development.

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