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Chapter 14. The Power and Limits of Prof... > The Gap Between Fact and Ideal

The Gap Between Fact and Ideal

Two objective phenomena—human fallibility and vested interest—account for why few, if any, professions are close to approximating the ideal of professional knowledge and practice. These two phenomena are at the root of much of the misuse of professional knowledge in the world:

  1. Human fallibility: All professional knowledge is acquired, analyzed, and put to use in the world by individuals subject to the pitfalls of human weakness, self-deception, and a variety of pathological states of mind (e.g., prejudice, egocentrism, or sociocentrism).

  2. Vested interest: Human professional knowledge exists in a world of power, status, and wealth. The struggle over all three significantly influences what information is acquired within any profession, how it is interpreted, and how it is used.


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