This essay reviews historical records that set forth the discussions and interaction of Michael Polanyi and Karl Mannheim/rom 1944 until Mannheim’s death early in 1947. The letters describe Polanyi’s effort to assemble a book to be published in a series edited by Manneheim. Theyalso reveal the different perspectives these thinkers took about freedom and the historical context of ideas. Records of J.H. Oldham’s discussion group “the Moot” suggest that these and other differences in philosophy were debated in meetings of “the (...) Moot” attended by Polanyi and Mannheim in 1944. (shrink)
This essay pulls together from myriad sources the record of Marjorie Grene’s early collaboration with Michael Polanyi as well as her interesting, changing commentary on Polanyi’s philosophical perspective and particularly that articulated in Personal Knowledge. It provides an account of the conflicting perspectives of Grene and Harry Prosch, who collaborated in publishing Polanyi’s last work, Meaning.
This review essay discusses Murray Jardine’s argument in Speech and Political Practice, Recovering the Place of Human Responsibility, showing how the author skillfully draws on the thought of Michael Polanyi, William Poteat and Alaisdair MacIntyre. Jardine offers a sharp critique of contemporary culture and politics as well as political theory. He develops the idea of place, drawing attention to the acritical reliance upon context in human speech acts; this motif he argues can be a component of the new political vocabulary (...) necessary to initiate public conversations about the common good. There are interesting questions about how Jardine’s account “fits” with some of the themes in Michael Polanyi’s political philosophy. (shrink)
In this brief essay, I discuss some interesting elements of Michael Polanyi’s provocative 1936 lecture outlining the potential of diagramatic film to transform social thinking about the economic order. A few years later, Polanyi more carefully and convincingly returns to some themes identified here, as he articulates his criticisms of and reconstruction of liberalism.
This brief essay introduces David Agler, Vincent Colapietro, and Robert Innis, who provide the major essays in this special issue of Tradition and Discovery devoted to putting together Michael Polanyi and Charles Sanders Peirce. It also provides an historiographical comment, suggesting that the two references to Peirce in Polanyi’s writing are quite puzzling and likely imply that Polanyi’s collaborators, rather than Polanyi, took an interest in similarities between the thought of Peirce and Polanyi.
In his writings between 1941 and 1951, Michael Polanyi developed a distinctive view of liberal social and political life. Planned organizations are a part of all modern societies, according to Polanyi, but in liberal modernity he highlighted dynamic social orders whose agents freely adjust their efforts in light of the initiatives and accomplishments of their peers. Liberal society itself is the most extensive of dynamic orders, with the market economy, and cultural orders of scientific research, Protestant religious inquiry, and common (...) law among its constituents. Liberal society and its dynamic orders of culture are, Polanyi explained, directed at transcendent ideals . He saw knowledge, rules of practice, and standards of value in these orders as being preserved in traditions that inform and constrain the initiatives of their members. Investing faith in a cultural enterprise, Polanyi's agents choose to act responsibly, dedicating their freedom to an ideal end. They are custodians and cultivators of the heritage of their dynamic order. (shrink)
These remarks are an obituary for William T. Scott who worked for many years on a biography of Michael Polanyi. In addition to providing an overview of Scott’s own life and work, his connection with Polanyi is reviewed.
This essay discusses historical data that help establish the time at which the Christian theologian and moral philosopher H. Richard Niebuhr became acquainted with Michael Polanyi’s thought. It also briefly examines the ways in which Polanyi’s philosophical ideas are used in the late publications of Niebuhr.
This brief response to Goodenough and Deacon’s essay “From Biology to Consciousness to Morality” sets forth Michael Polanyi’s criticism of evolutionary ideas of his day. It analyzes Polanyi’s approach to biology and suggests there are affinities with the provocative evolutionary sketch Goodenough and Deacon provide of the development of the human capacity for moral experience.
This review essay summarizes major themes in Ursula Goodenough’s The Sacred Depths of Nature and in several of her recent shorter publications. I describe her religious naturalism and her effort to craft a global ethic grounded in her penetrating account of nature. I suggest several parallels between Goodenough’s “deep” account of nature and Michael Polanyi’s ideas.
This essay discusses Polanyi sideas about the “comprehensive entity.” It shows how Polanyi’s philosophical perspective emphasizes comprehension. It outlines Polanyi’s careful approach to ontological questions and shows how Marjorie Grene and to some degree Polanyi linked the theory of tacit knowing to ideas in Continental philosophy about being-in-the-world. It suggests that Polanyi’s post-critical philosophical realism, like Peirce srealistn, is more akin to medieval realism than contelnporary discussions.
These reflections summarize major themes in Marjorie Grene’s A Philosophical Testament. I also highlight Grene’s comments on her many years of work with Polanyi and try to draw out some connections between Grene’s thought and that of Polanyi.