Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy

By Michael Polanyi
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"Personal Knowledge" by Michael Polanyi is a thought-provoking exploration of the nature and limits of scientific knowledge. With clarity and intellectual depth, Polanyi challenges the prevalent notion that knowledge can only be objective and methodical, arguing that personal involvement and tacit understanding play critical roles in scientific discovery.

Through nuanced examples and philosophical inquiry, Polanyi presents the concept of "tacit knowing" – the understanding that is difficult to articulate but nevertheless guides our actions. He argues that scientific facts and theories are not mere products of detached observation, but are influenced by the personal commitments and judgments of the scientific community. This perspective revolutionizes how we understand the pursuit of knowledge.

Polanyi further examines the role of tradition and authority in the advancement of knowledge, debunking the notion of an entirely autonomous and individualistic scientist. He demonstrates how reliance on established paradigms and trusting the expertise of others strengthens scientific understanding.

The author also tackles the limitations of absolute objectivity, emphasizing that scientific inquiry is inherently subjective and influenced by personal participation. He cautions against an overreliance on simplistic reductionism and highlights the importance of embracing intuition and tacit knowledge in expanding our understanding.

"Personal Knowledge" challenges readers to reconsider the conventional understanding of knowledge as purely objective and detached, inviting a broader vision of scientific inquiry that acknowledges the crucial role of personal involvement. Polanyi's seminal work engages both scientists and philosophers, urging a more holistic and nuanced approach to the pursuit of knowledge.
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