The central questions raised by Allan Bloom's The Closing of theAmerican Mind are often overlooked. Among the most important ofBloom's themes is the impact of nihilism upon education. Bloom condemnsnihilism. Interestingly, we find among his critics two alternativejudgments. Richard Schacht, citing Nietzsche, asserts that nihilism,while fruitless in and of itself, is a necessary prerequisite tosomething higher. Harry Neumann, affirming the accuracy of nihilism,declares that both Bloom and Nietzsche reject nihilism out of ignoranceborn of weakness. All three philosophers understand that the (...) purpose ofeducation emerges from one's position on nihilism. If nihilism is true,then it is senseless and cowardly to teach one's students that there aregrounds for moral judgments. On the other hand, if one believes thatthere is an objective higher and lower in moral matters, then one cannotat the same time consistently endorse nihilism or the atheism upon whichit rests. There is reason to believe that a consistent nihilism isimpossible and hence that the concept is bankrupt. But then something istrue, and there are grounds for moral judgment. Education must respondaccordingly. But even Bloom with his emphasis on the Great Books fallsshort of what is required. An education which aims to defeat nihilismmust, at the very least, hold out the promise that through thecultivation of reason one may indeed arrive at the truth. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, an analytic philosophical excursion into the meaning and implications of the mind-body problem, has striking parallels to Michael Polanyi’s thought, especially as it is captured in Personal Knowledge. Indeed, Nagel’s courageous and honest challenge to the evolutionary naturalistic orthodoxy that is currently ascendant in elite opinion is perhaps best understood, via Nagel’s emphasis on plausibility and common sense, in terms of the faith and commitment that Polanyi places at the center of his thought. But the (...) relationship between the two philosophers moves in both directions: Study of Nagel casts useful light on Polanyi as well. (shrink)
Michael Polanyi articulates two arguments against the view that moral judgment has no proper place in the conduct of political science: Non-judgmental political science cannot understand what it studies; and non-judgmental political science cannot understand the political scientist himself. Evaluation of these arguments not only clarifies important dimensions of Polanyi’s conceptions of understanding and tacit inference, it prompts a reconsideration of the nature of both moral deliberation and moral truth. The encounter with Polanyi demonstrates that non-judgmental political science does indeed (...) fall short of its stated objective. (shrink)
This collection by some of the leading scholars of Strauss's work is the first devoted to Strauss's thought regarding education. It seeks to address his conception of education as it applies to a range of his most important concepts, such as his views on the importance of revelation, his critique of modern democracy and the importance of modern classical education.
Among the traditional issues in philosophy that are directly affected by Michael Polanyi's revolutionary epistemology and its related ontology are nominalism and the question of universals. Polanyi's treatment of these matters is particularly fruitful, for it not only clarifies his conceptions of "tacit knowing" and "indwelling" but also illuminates his understanding of truth and reality and introduces us to his views on induction. Such inquiry will also demonstrate a deep affinity between Polanyi's position and that of Charles Sanders Peirce, while (...) at the same time illustrating how Polanyi joins a number of late nineteenth- and early to mid-twentieth-century philosophers in aiming to resolve central problems of .. (shrink)
ABSTRACT A commitment to receive input from stakeholders is often obligatory in the crafting of environmental policies. This requirement is presumed to satisfy certain conditions of democracy. In this article, by drawing from pragmatism, we examine the logic of participation and prerequisites of the meaningful game of asking for and giving reasons. We elaborate the nature and significance of three components—the game, the pleadings, and the reasons. We conclude by offering the conditions under which the stakeholder game might be considered (...) legitimate. (shrink)