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Tacit Dimension Hardcover – January 1, 1983

ISBN-13: 978-0844659992 ISBN-10: 0844659991 Edition: Reprint

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Smith Publisher Inc; Reprint edition (January 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844659991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844659992
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,883,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Polanyi's work deserves serious attention, and this compact presentation of some of the essentials of his thought will serve to send more readers on to, or back to, Personal Knowledge."
(Review of Metaphysics) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) was a Hungarian-British chemist and philosopher, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is the author of many books, including Science, Faith and Society and Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, both published by the University of Chicago Press.  Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, is the Lamont University Professor at Harvard University.

 

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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This is a good philosophy book if you are learning about learning.
Pat
Lower levels are stepping stones which can set the conditions of what will emerge, but not determine the outcome of what actually emerges.
G. Bestick
Just finished Mr. Polanyi's little book---very well done and compelling.
J. Scott Shipman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By G. Bestick VINE VOICE on January 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Polanyi, a scientist turned philosopher, developed this set of three lectures partly in response to a 1935 conversation with Bukharin, a prominent Soviet scientist. Bukharin asserted that pure science was a morbid symptom of a class society; under socialism, science pursued for its own sake would disappear, and scientists would use their knowledge only for a higher social good, such as solving the problems of the current Five Year Plan. Polanyi's defense of free scientific inquiry took the form of describing how we actually acquire knowledge of the world as we move through it. In the process, he made lasting contributions to epistemology, the branch of philosophy that explores how we know what we know.

He starts by examining how scientists actually practice their craft. Scientific problem solving starts with finding a good problem to work on, and Polanyi's interest is in how that problem gets posed. He introduces the idea of tacit knowledge, which consists of things we know without being able to say how we know them. For instance, I know my wife's face, without being able to tell you how I can pick her face out of the billions of faces in the world. Scientists use tacit knowledge all the time to formulate problems. They make indeterminate commitments based on internal feelings that this commitment will be eventually be fruitful.

Having reclaimed individual agency and subjective knowing as part of the scientific process, Polanyi then asserts the value of empirical knowledge against top down ideologies such as Marxism and philosophies such as Existentialism that argue that humans choose their own reality by willing it into existence at the moment of choice.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott Shipman on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished Mr. Polanyi's little book---very well done and compelling. It has seemed that the last several books I've read were based mostly on their acceptance of Polanyi's notions of tacit and explicit knowledge. On further investigation I discovered that Polanyi's signature work, Personal Knowledge clocked in at about 500 pages---and with about two feet of books on the must read list, I was happy for the opportunity to get the gist of his thinking. Dimension does the trick. Polanyi's intellectual honesty and devotion to complete development of an idea are as refreshing as they are enlightening.

There are several "money" quotes, but this one jumped off the page:

"Yet it is taken for granted today among biologists that all manifestations of life can ultimately be explained by the laws governing inanimate matter. K.S. Lashley declared this at the Hixon Symposium of 1948, as the common belief of all participants, without ever consulting his distinguished colleagues. Yet this assumption is patent nonsense. The most striking feature of our own existence is our sentience. The laws of physics and chemistry include no conception of sentience, and any system wholly determined by these laws must be insentient. It may be in the interest of science to turn a blind eye on this central fact of the universe, but it is certainly not in the interest of truth. I shall prefer to follow up, on the contrary, the fact that the study of life must ultimately reveal some principles additional to those manifested by inanimate matter, and to prefigure the general outline of one such, yet unknown, principle."

The "unknown" and "hidden realities" play a large part of each of three chapters and he concludes with: "Men need a purpose which bears on eternity.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hector Lasala on October 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
this is a JEWEL of a book:
my deep gratitude go to AMARTYA SEN for seeing to its reprinting.

having struggled through POLANYI's PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE,
it is fortuitous to find those brilliant ideas lucidly condensed in a much more accessible prose!

what is remarkable and significant about TACIT knowledge is that it validates what thinkers, artists, designers, writers, poets, musicians, and scientists (albeit too few of these) consistently admit: we cannot account as to the origin of the initial idea or notion that launches our investigations.

Paul Feyerabend in his book AGAINST METHOD touches on this enigmatic mental itch or, as he calls it, "a vague urge":

"Creation of a thing, and creation plus full understanding of a correct idea of the thing, are parts of one and the same indivisible process... The process itself is not guided by a well-defined programme, and cannot be guided by such programme... It is guided rather by a vague urge, by a `passion'. "

this book opens up new venues to think about thinking.
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46 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Ayumu Yasutomi on January 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are intrested in the thought of Polany, this is the best book. This is the introduction to Polanyi by Polanyi. If you carefully read this book, your view on Science, Knowledge, and Human being will be a bit changed. Polanyi tried to protect Science from Socialism and found it is necessiary to give up objectivism to protect Science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dbubba ... on March 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
I picked up the book in the late 60's at the "Nut Tree" I-80 east of Vacaville, CA. For me, it's been a guiding foundation for understanding behavior, mine included. Reading it, was a joy.
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