Rabbi Joseph Hayyim of Baghdad explains the Mishna (Avot 2:2) Yaffe Talmud Torah 'im Derekh Eretz as advocating the study of Torah and of other topics such as languages, arithmetic, geography, astronomy and natural science in parallel, from an early age. However, as far as I have been able to ascertain, the conventional 'classic' interpretations of the term Derekh Eretz in this mishna explain it either as engaging in making a living, or, as qualities of a person's character and behavior towards others. Famously, it is Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch who explains Derekh Eretz as secular/non-Torah studies. My questions are:
1. Can anyone point me to persons who explained Derekh Eretz in this manner PRIOR to Rabbi Hirsch?
2. Can anyone point me to persons who explained Derekh Eretz in this manner INDEPENDENTLY of Rabbi Hirsch (i.e., without knowing of his interpretation)?