Michael Polanyi

Sartre puts it, value arises simply from our choices. What we choose, we value simply because we have chosen it (and apparently we remain scot-free at any moment to nonvalue it by simply un-choosing it). In other words, we do not choose (in his view) because we see the value of something. We see the value of something because we have chosen it.

3 thoughts on “Michael Polanyi

  1. shinichi Post author


    by Michael Polanyi

    Published very shortly before his death in February 1976, Meaning is the culmination of Michael Polanyi’s philosophic endeavors. With the assistance of Harry Prosch, Polanyi goes beyond his earlier critique of scientific “objectivity” to investigate meaning as founded upon the imaginative and creative faculties.

    Establishing that science is an inherently normative form of knowledge and that society gives meaning to science instead of being given the “truth” by science, Polanyi contends here that the foundation of meaning is the creative imagination. Largely through metaphorical expression in poetry, art, myth, and religion, the imagination is used to synthesize the otherwise chaotic and disparate elements of life. To Polanyi these integrations stand with those of science as equally valid modes of knowledge. He hopes this view of the foundation of meaning will restore validity to the traditional ideas that were undercut by modern science. Polanyi also outlines the general conditions of a free society that encourage varied approaches to truth, and includes an illuminating discussion of how to restore, to modern minds, the possibility for the acceptance of religion.

  2. shinichi Post author

    PersonalKnowledgePersonal Knowledge

    by Michael Polanyi


    The publication of Personal Knowledge in 1958 shook the science world, as Michael Polanyi took aim at the long-standing ideals of rigid empiricism and rule-bound logic. Today, Personal Knowledge remains one of the most significant philosophy of science books of the twentieth century, bringing the crucial concepts of “tacit knowledge” and “personal knowledge” to the forefront of inquiry.

    In this remarkable treatise, Polanyi attests that our personal experiences and ways of sharing knowledge have a profound effect on scientific discovery. He argues against the idea of the wholly dispassionate researcher, pointing out that even in the strictest of sciences, knowing is still an art, and that personal commitment and passion are logically necessary parts of research. In our technological age where fact is split from value and science from humanity, Polanyi’s work continues to advocate for the innate curiosity and scientific leaps of faith that drive our most dazzling ingenuity.

    For this expanded edition, Polyani scholar Mary Jo Nye set the philosopher-scientist’s work into contemporary context, offering fresh insights and providing a helpful guide to critical terms in the work. Used in fields as diverse as religious studies, chemistry, economics, and anthropology, Polanyi’s view of knowledge creation is just as relevant to intellectual endeavors today as when it first made waves more than fifty years ago.


    KnowingAndBeingKnowing and Being: Essays by Michael Polanyi

    by Michael Polanyi


    Because of the difficulty posed by the contrast between the search for truth and truth itself, Michael Polanyi believes that we must alter the foundation of epistemology to include as essential to the very nature of mind, the kind of groping that constitutes the recognition of a problem.

    This collection of essays, assembled by Marjorie Grene, exemplifies the development of Polanyi’s theory of knowledge which was first presented in Science, Faith, and Society and later systematized in Personal Knowledge.

    Polanyi believes that the dilemma of the modern mind arises from the peculiar relation between the positivist claim for total objectivity in scientific knowledge and the unprecedented moral dynamism characterizing the social and political aspirations of the last century. The first part of Knowing and Being deals with this theme. Part two develops Polanyi’s idea that centralization is incompatible with the life of science as well as his views on the role of tradition and authority in science. The essays on tacit knowing in Part Three proceed directly from his preoccupation with the nature of scientific discovery and reveal a pervasive substructure of all intelligent behavior. Polanyi believes that all knowing involves movement from internal clues to external evidence. Therefore, to explain the process of knowing, we must develop a theory of the nature of living things in general, including an account of that aspect of living things we call “mind.” Part Four elaborates upon this theme.

  3. shinichi Post author


    マイケル・ポランニー(Michael Polanyi)といえば知識(knowledge)、知識といえばマイケル・ポランニー。そんなことを言う人がいるくらい、ポランニーの名前は知識に結びついている。




    知識ということについて書くにあたり、「Knowing and Being」というマイケル・ポランニーのエッセイ集はどうしても気になってしまうのだが、運がいいことにベースが違いすぎ、書くことの障害にはならずにすんでいる。


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