Knowing and being essays by michael polanyi pdf
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- Michael Polanyi and tacit knowledge
- Knowing and Being: Essays by Michael Polanyi by Michael Polanyi
- Transcendent Mind, Emergent Universe in the Thought of Michael Polanyi
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Michael Polanyi and tacit knowledge
He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing , which if taken seriously undermines humanity's highest achievements. His wide-ranging research in physical science included chemical kinetics , x-ray diffraction , and adsorption of gases.
He pioneered the theory of fibre diffraction analysis in , and the dislocation theory of plastic deformation of ductile metals and other materials in He emigrated to Germany , in becoming a chemistry professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin , and then in to England , becoming first a chemistry professor, and then a social sciences professor at the University of Manchester. In Polanyi was elected to the Royal Society. The contributions which Polanyi made to the social sciences include an understanding of tacit knowledge , and the concept of a polycentric spontaneous order to intellectual inquiry were developed in the context of his opposition to central planning.
His father built much of the Hungarian railway system, but lost most of his fortune in when bad weather caused a railway building project to go over budget. He died in His older brother was Karl Polanyi , the political economist and anthropologist, and his niece was Eva Zeisel , a world-renowned ceramist.
In , after leaving his teacher-training secondary school Mintagymnasium , Polanyi studied to be a physician, obtaining his medical diploma in He was an active member of the Galileo Circle. In the First World War , he served in the Austro-Hungarian army as a medical officer, and was sent to the Serbian front. While on sick-leave in , he wrote a PhD thesis on adsorption. When the Communists seized power in March , he returned to medicine. In , Magda gave birth to their son John , who was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in Their other son, George Polanyi, who predeceased him, became a well-known economist.
His experience of runaway inflation and high unemployment in Weimar Germany led Polanyi to become interested in economics. With the coming to power in of the Nazi party, he accepted a chair in physical chemistry at the University of Manchester.
Because of his increasing interest in the social sciences, Manchester University created a new chair in Social Science —58 for him. In Polanyi was elected a member of the Royal Society ,  and on his retirement from the University of Manchester in he was elected a senior research fellow at Merton College , Oxford.
Polanyi's scientific interests were extremely diverse, including work in chemical kinetics , x-ray diffraction , and the adsorption of gases at solid surfaces. He is also well known for his potential adsorption theory , which was disputed for quite some time. In , he laid the mathematical foundation of fibre diffraction analysis. In , Polanyi, at about the same time as G. Taylor and Egon Orowan , realised that the plastic deformation of ductile materials could be explained in terms of the theory of dislocations developed by Vito Volterra in The insight was critical in developing the field of solid mechanics.
In , as a consequence of an invitation to give lectures for the Ministry of Heavy Industry in the USSR , Polanyi met Bukharin , who told him that in socialist societies all scientific research is directed to accord with the needs of the latest Five Year Plan. Polanyi noted what had happened to the study of genetics in the Soviet Union once the doctrines of Trofim Lysenko had gained the backing of the State.
Demands in Britain, for example by the Marxist John Desmond Bernal , for centrally planned scientific research led Polanyi to defend the claim that science requires free debate. In a series of articles, re-published in The Contempt of Freedom and The Logic of Liberty , Polanyi claimed that co-operation amongst scientists is analogous to the way agents co-ordinate themselves within a free market.
Just as consumers in a free market determine the value of products, science is a spontaneous order that arises as a consequence of open debate amongst specialists. Science contrary to the claims of Bukharin flourishes when scientists have the liberty to pursue truth as an end in itself:.
Such self-co-ordination of independent initiatives leads to a joint result which is unpremeditated by any of those who bring it about. Any attempt to organize the group It would, in effect, paralyse their co-operation. He derived the phrase spontaneous order from Gestalt psychology , and it was adopted by the classical liberal economist Friederich Hayek , although the concept can be traced back to at least Adam Smith.
Polanyi unlike Hayek argued that there are higher and lower forms of spontaneous order, and he asserted that defending scientific inquiry on utilitarian or sceptical grounds undermined the practice of science. He extends this into a general claim about free societies. Polanyi defends a free society not on the negative grounds that we ought to respect "private liberties", but on the positive grounds that "public liberties" facilitate our pursuit of objective ideals.
According to Polanyi, a free society that strives to be value-neutral undermines its own justification. But it is not enough for the members of a free society to believe that ideals such as truth, justice, and beauty, are objective, they also have to accept that they transcend our ability to wholly capture them. The objectivity of values must be combined with acceptance that all knowing is fallible. In Full Employment and Free Trade Polanyi analyses the way money circulates around an economy, and in a monetarist analysis that, according to Paul Craig Roberts , was thirty years ahead of its time, he argues that a free market economy should not be left to be wholly self-adjusting.
In , he produced a film, "Unemployment and money. The principles involved", perhaps the first film about economics. In his book Science, Faith and Society , Polanyi set out his opposition to a positivist account of science, noting that it ignores the role personal commitments play in the practice of science.
Polanyi gave the Gifford Lectures in —52 at Aberdeen, and a revised version of his lectures were later published as Personal Knowledge In this book Polanyi claims that all knowledge claims including those that derive from rules rely on personal judgements.
All knowing, no matter how formalised, relies upon commitments. Polanyi argued that the assumptions that underlie critical philosophy are not only false, they undermine the commitments that motivate our highest achievements.
He advocates a fiduciary post-critical approach, in which we recognise that we believe more than we can prove, and know more than we can say. The literary critic Rita Felski has named Polanyi as an important precursor to the project of postcritique within literary studies. A knower does not stand apart from the universe, but participates personally within it. Our intellectual skills are driven by passionate commitments that motivate discovery and validation.
According to Polanyi, a great scientist not only identifies patterns, but also chooses significant questions likely to lead to a successful resolution. Innovators risk their reputation by committing to a hypothesis. Polanyi cites the example of Copernicus , who declared that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He claims that Copernicus arrived at the Earth's true relation to the Sun not as a consequence of following a method, but via "the greater intellectual satisfaction he derived from the celestial panorama as seen from the Sun instead of the Earth.
Polanyi rejected the claim by British Empiricists that experience can be reduced into sense data , but he also rejects the notion that "indwelling" within sometimes incompatible interpretative frameworks traps us within them.
Our tacit awareness connects us, albeit fallibly, with reality. It supplies us with the context within which our articulations have meaning. Contrary to the views of his colleague and friend Alan Turing , whose work at the Victoria University of Manchester prepared the way for the first modern computer , he denied that minds are reducible to collections of rules.
His work influenced the critique by Hubert Dreyfus of "First Generation" artificial intelligence. It was while writing Personal Knowledge that he identified the "structure of tacit knowing ". He viewed it as his most important discovery. He claimed that we experience the world by integrating our subsidiary awareness into a focal awareness. In his later work, for example his Terry Lectures , later published as The Tacit Dimension , he distinguishes between the phenomenological , instrumental , semantic , and ontological aspects of tacit knowing, as discussed but not necessarily identified as such in his previous writing.
In "Life's irreducible structure" ,  Polanyi argues that the information contained in the DNA molecule is not reducible to the laws of physics and chemistry. Although a DNA molecule cannot exist without physical properties, these properties are constrained by higher-level ordering principles.
In "Transcendence and Self-transcendence" ,  Polanyi criticises the mechanistic world view that modern science inherited from Galileo. Polanyi advocates emergence i. He relies on the assumption that boundary conditions supply degrees of freedom that, instead of being random, are determined by higher-level realities, whose properties are dependent on but distinct from the lower level from which they emerge. An example of a higher-level reality functioning as a downward causal force is consciousness — intentionality — generating meanings — intensionality.
Mind is a higher-level expression of the capacity of living organisms for discrimination. Our pursuit of self-set ideals such as truth and justice transforms our understanding of the world.
The reductionistic attempt to reduce higher-level realities into lower-level realities generates what Polanyi calls a moral inversion, in which the higher is rejected with moral passion. Polanyi identifies it as a pathology of the modern mind and traces its origins to a false conception of knowledge; although it is relatively harmless in the formal sciences, that pathology generates nihilism in the humanities.
Polanyi considered Marxism an example of moral inversion. The State, on the grounds of an appeal to the logic of history, uses its coercive powers in ways that disregard any appeals to morality.
Tacit knowledge , as distinct from explicit knowledge, is an influential term developed by Polanyi in The Tacit Dimension  to describe the idea of know how, or the ability to do something, without necessarily being able to articulate it or even be aware of all the dimensions, for example being able to ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article uses Western name order when mentioning individuals. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Budapest , Austria-Hungary. Northampton , England. Atomic Reactions.
Williams and Norgate, London. Economics The Contempt of Freedom. The Russian Experiment and After. Patent Reform Full Employment and Free Trade Science, Faith, and Society. Oxford Univ. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, The Logic of Liberty. University of Chicago Press.
Knowing and Being: Essays by Michael Polanyi by Michael Polanyi
Michael Polanyi is one of the most inspiring and original thinkers in the 20th century. He launched a new and independent philosophical tradition and fertilized many intellectual areas from cognitive psychology to management sciences. Polanyi's systematic thoughts span over many areas of philosophy, yet his most fruitful ideas, the fundamentals of his system are contributions to epistemology and ontology. His theory of tacit knowledge, his critique of both the objectivist and the subjectivist views of knowledge, his concept of emergence, and his theory of spontaneous order and coordination-just to mention a few-are probably the most important and most well-known. Polanyi also gave us a new picture about science in which scientist's personal participation guided by his cognitive and moral commitment, passions and trust, is an essential part of knowledge itself, in both its discovery and its validation. This volume focuses on these epistemological and ontological issues.
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Transcendent Mind, Emergent Universe in the Thought of Michael Polanyi
Access options available:. Whiteley discusses the view that mental concepts, such as thinking, perceiving, feeling pain, are essentially behavioural. Price discusses the phenomena of intelligible sounds emitted by others that may provide information about the world as it exists through other minds. The question of perceptual experience in the validation of the immediate world demands a philosophical basis.
Michael Polanyi made a profound contribution both to the philosophy of science and social science. Born in Budapest into a upper class Jewish family, he studied at the University there gaining doctoral degrees both in medicine and physical science and at Karlsruhe. His initial work was as a physical chemist — undertaking significant work at the University of Berlin and other universities on crystal structure and reaction kinetics.
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