Much of what humans know we cannot say. And much of what we do we cannot describe. For example, how do we know how to ride a bike when we can’t explain how we do it? Abilities like this were called “tacit knowledge” by physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, but here Harry Collins analyzes the term, and the behavior, in much greater detail, often departing from Polanyi’s treatment.
In Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, Collins develops a common conceptual language to bridge the concept’s disparate domains by explaining explicit knowledge and classifying tacit knowledge. Collins then teases apart the three very different meanings, which, until now, all fell under the umbrella of Polanyi’s term: relational tacit knowledge (things we could describe in principle if someone put effort into describing them), somatic tacit knowledge (things our bodies can do but we cannot describe how, like balancing on a bike), and collective tacit knowledge (knowledge we draw that is the property of society, such as the rules for language). Thus, bicycle riding consists of some somatic tacit knowledge and some collective tacit knowledge, such as the knowledge that allows us to navigate in traffic. The intermixing of the three kinds of tacit knowledge has led to confusion in the past; Collins’s book will at last unravel the complexities of the idea.
Tacit knowledge drives everything from language, science, education, and management to sport, bicycle riding, art, and our interaction with technology. In Collins’s able hands, it also functions at last as a framework for understanding human behavior in a range of disciplines.
The Tacit Dimension
Michael Polanyi University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress BD161.P724 2009 | Dewey Decimal 121
“I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell,” writes Michael Polanyi, whose work paved the way for the likes of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. The Tacit Dimension argues that tacit knowledge—tradition, inherited practices, implied values, and prejudgments—is a crucial part of scientific knowledge. Back in print for a new generation of students and scholars, this volume challenges the assumption that skepticism, rather than established belief, lies at the heart of scientific discovery.
“Polanyi’s work deserves serious attention. . . . [This is a] compact presentation of some of the essentials of his thought.”—Review of Metaphysics
“Polanyi’s work is still relevant today and a closer examination of this theory that all knowledge has personal and tacit elements . . . can be used to support and refute a variety of widely held approaches to knowledge management.”—Electronic Journal of Knowledge
"The reissuing of this remarkable book give us a new opportunity to see how far-reaching—and foundational—Michael Polanyi's ideas are, on some of the age-old questions in philosophy."—Amartya Sen, from the new Foreword
At a time when the analytic/continental split dominates contemporary philosophy, this ambitious work offers a careful and clear-minded way to bridge that divide. Combining conceptual rigor and clarity of prose with historical erudition, A Thing of This World shows how one of the standard issues of analytic philosophy--realism and anti-realism--has also been at the heart of continental philosophy.
Using a framework derived from prominent analytic thinkers, Lee Braver traces the roots of anti-realism to Kant's idea that the mind actively organizes experience. He then shows in depth and in detail how this idea evolves through the works of Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. This narrative presents an illuminating account of the
history of continental philosophy by explaining how these thinkers build on each other's attempts to develop new concepts of reality and truth in the wake of the rejection of realism. Braver demonstrates that the analytic and continental traditions have been discussing the same issues, albeit with different vocabularies, interests, and approaches.
By developing a commensurate vocabulary, his book promotes a dialogue between the two branches of philosophy in which each can begin to learn from the other.
In a bold and boundary defining work, Angus Fletcher clears a space for an intellectual encounter with the shape of human imagining. Joining literature and topology—a branch of mathematics—he maps the ways the imagination’s contours are formed by the spherical earth’s patterns and cycles, and shows how the world we inhabit also inhabits us.
Current rhetorical and critical theory for the most part separates writing from consciousness and presumes relative truth to be the only possible expressive goal for rhetoric. These presumptions are reflected in our tradition of persuasive rhetoric, which values writing that successfully argues one person’s belief at the expense of another’s. Barbara Couture presents a case for a phenomenological rhetoric, one that values and respects consciousness and selfhood and that restores to rhetoric the possibility of seeking an all-embracing truth through pacific and cooperative interaction.
Couture discusses the premises on which current interpretive theory has supported relative truth as the philosophical grounding for rhetoric, premises, she argues, that have led to constraints on our notion of truth that divorce it from human experience. She then shows how phenomenological philosophy might guide the theory and practice of rhetoric, reanimating its role in the human enterprise of seeking a shared truth. She proposes profession and altruism as two guiding metaphors for the phenomenological activity of "truth-seeking through interaction."
Among the contemporary rhetoricians and philosophers who influence Couture are Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Buber, Charles Altieri, Charles Taylor, Alasdair Maclntyre, and Jürgen Habermas.
Truth and Existence
Jean-Paul Sartre University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress B2430.S33V4713 1992 | Dewey Decimal 121
Truth and Existence, written in response to Martin Heidegger's Essence of Truth, is a product of the years when Sartre was reaching full stature as a philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist. This concise and engaging text not only presents Sartre's ontology of truth but also addresses the key moral questions of freedom, action, and bad faith.
Truth and Existence is introduced by an extended biographical, historical, and analytical essay by Ronald Aronson.
"Truth and Existence is another important element in the recently published links between Sartre's existentialist ontology and his later ethical, political, and literary concerns. . . . The excellent introduction by Aronson will help readers not experienced in reading Sartre."—Choice
"Accompanied by an excellent introduction, this dense, lucidly translated treatise reveals Sartre as a characteristically 20th-century figure."—Publishers Weekly
Jean-Paul Sartre (1906-1980) was offered, but declined, the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. His many works of fiction, drama, and philosophy include the monumental study of Flaubert, The Family Idiot, and The Freud Scenario, both published in translation by the University of Chicago Press.