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Older comments[edit]

One can not literally be described as "self taught" by mostly limiting their learning to reading books (as opposed to attending conventional schools), given that books are written by others. By reading they are being TAUGHT, just indirectly through the medium of writing. --- My impression is that an autodidact is a self-taught SCHOLAR, or someone in scholarly pursuits. I do not think Uma Thurman or Phillip K Dick should be on the list. They simply left school to pursue a career. Otherwise, any in a career who dropped out or skipped college (including Peter Jennings, Bill Gates) would fall into the category. That misses the spirit of the term.

Second. Indeed! We have to add only the greatest autodidacts, e.g. Leonardo Da Vinci. Feel free to change the list in any way you feel will suit.
That sounds like a good differentiation. Though, even though PK Dick wasn't a scholar, he was a professional intellectual who apparently educated/trained himself. And Uma Thurman, if she educated/trained herself how to act, could be seen as a kind of autodidactic artist, which seems much more relevant than an 'autodidactic businessman' or 'autodidactic journalist'. We could have a main list of autodidactic scholars, and an ancillary list for autodidactic intellectuals and artists.--Nectarflowed 01:18, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

How about any successful person, especially if in the public eye, who happened to start but not finish college? The strict sense of autodidacticism is self-teaching. Self-directed education is a weak meaning of the word, because virtually everyone self-directs unless they are an indentured servant, or are psychologically manipulated. I attempted to soften the text somewhat in this regard. Feel free to help clarify (or refute) this distinction. --Blainster 19:55, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

David Friedman[edit]

Would David Friedman be considered an autodidact? He has reportedly never taken a formal economics class (he was a Physics major), and he now teaches Economics at the University of Chicago and writes books on the subject. --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 18:43, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, I think that's part of a larger point. Many of the people on our list probably wouldn't think of themselves using the specific term autodidact, even though their biographies clearly meet the definitions of the term.--Nectarflowed 01:18, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you check the Friedman link, you will see he has been at University of Santa Clara since 1995. As the son of Nobel economist Milton Friedman, he would hardly qualify as an autodidact, even if he never took an economics class (unless he was not raised by his father). --Blainster 18:56, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not a stub?[edit]

Even though the page is huge, the actual information on autodidactism seems small. The statement "Inquiry into autodidacticism has implications in learning theory and educational theory, educational research, educational philosophy and educational psychology." seems like it should lead into a very detailed discussion. This is why I had left the {{stub}}. JesseHogan 20:48, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Agree. Anyone who wants to do some research for this article (which appears to be a popular one) might start with the book The Passion To Learn: An Inquiry into Autodidactism by Joan Solomon. The product description writes: "The final chapter addresses the implications of autodidactism for educational theory, research, philosophy and psychology."--Nectarflowed 23:49, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Autodidactic Category[edit]

Would it not be appropriate to create an autodidactic category and use it as an alternative to the enourmous list we have going. JesseHogan 03:34, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I removed the list and created a category for Autodidacts. I'm hopeful that this will lead to a more thorough and accurate listing of famous autodidacts.JesseHogan 04:46, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I have added your new category to the "Category" section, although it is embedded in the article's text. --Blainster 18:18, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I felt like it should be removed so I took it out. Autodidacts are people, so it seems illogical to list a method of learning (Autodidacticism) under a classification of people. The category page and this article both link to one another so there shouldn't be an issue with page discovery. JesseHogan 23:19, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Added the Nobel Prize of Literature José Saramago[edit]

You may know, José Saramago (Nobel Prize of Literature) at the age of 13 he was forced to abandon the studies and began to work as a mechanic. Then, he continued working as a locksmith for 30 years. Failed publishing his first novel in 1947. Saramago is a self made man, which without studies won the Nobel Prize of Literature. I find this important, to quote him as an autodidact. The reference where this is explained is here: An interview Saramago granted to the BBC. It is in Spanish (Saramago is a long term resident in Spain, in Las Islas Canarias). In the interview you will learn that he was an autodidact.

Lee Sallows quote[edit]

Perhaps this quote may be integrated:

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


  1. ^ Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, december 2009