5x6 (5x6) wrote in linguaphiles,

Scientist vs. scholar

In English (at least in American English) the word scientist has a more narrow meaning than scholar. A scientist can study physics or geology, possibly archaeology, but not history or religion. These areas are called "humanities" as opposed to "sciences", and a person researching, for instance, historical background of the Bible may be a Biblical scholar, but not a Biblical scientist.

This is not the case in other languages. Wissenschaft in German applies to any activity involving research and creating new knowledge. The Max Planck Society for Advancement of Sciences (Wissentschaften) runs, among other, an institute for art history etc.

Similarly in Russian, Наука includes history, philosophy, art studies etc. Ученый (scientist) may study the Bible, or Shakespeare.

In some sense American division is rather arbitrary - why political science is a science, and history is not, even though history can be, at least potentially, much more objective than political science?

So my question is, what is the situation in other languages (and maybe in other English dialects, although I doubt there will be a lot of difference in this aspect)?

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