Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY AND MOTIVATION: VOLUME 47 OF THE NEBRASKA SYMPOSIUM ON MOTIVATION, ed. Richard Dienstbier, Jeffrey A. French, Alan C. Kamil, and Daniel W. Leger. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2001. Pages ix–xxiii. Copyright © 2001 University of Nebraska Press. Used by permission.


When one looks at the intellectual landscape of the modern university, at the scholarly and scientific interests of its faculty, the panorama is seamless. There are no discontinuities. The interests of physicists transmogrify into those of chemists, those of chemists into those of biologists, and so on. The lines, the divisions, between departments have been created out of administrative, not intellectual, necessity.
For example, consider the divide between chemistry and biology. There is a set of chemical processes that are characteristic of living systems. Is the study of these processes chemistry or biology? This is a meaningless question. To be a really good biochemist, one must be both a biologist and a chemist. After all, biochemistry is the study of chemical processes as carried out by biological systems.