Advertisement

Metascience

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 399–405 | Cite as

Michael Polanyi and the politics of science studies

Mary Jo Nye: Michael Polanyi and his generation: Origins of the social construction of science. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011, 428pp, $45.00 HB, $30.00 PB
  • Charles Thorpe
Essay Review
  • 167 Downloads

Tacit knowledge is today a key concept in history and sociology of science and, primarily because of the significance of this concept, Michael Polanyi is regarded, alongside other figures such as Ludwig Fleck, Karl Mannheim, Robert K. Merton, and Thomas Kuhn as a forerunner of contemporary social studies of science. And yet, Polanyi’s major book, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy (1958), with its invocation of St. Augustine’s idea of knowledge as a “gift of grace,” its Christian existentialism, its conservative moralism, and its often tortuously complex style of reasoning is much less accessible and amenable to increasingly specialized academics than Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Much of Personal Knowledge seems tangential to today’s social studies of science: for example, its moralistic anti-Communism and teleological conception of the evolution of human intelligence as the “awakening of the world” (Polanyi 1962: 405). A view of Polanyi as...

References

  1. Collins, Harry. 1992. Changing order: Replication and induction in scientific practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Collins, H.M., and Robert Evans. 2002. The third wave of science studies: Studies of expertise and experience. Social Studies of Science 32(2): 235–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins, Harry, and Robert Evans. 2007. Rethinking expertise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jasanoff, Sheila. 2003. Breaking the waves in science studies: Comment on H.M. Collins and Robert Evans, ‘The third wave of Science Studies’. Social Studies of Science 33(3): 389–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mirowski, Philip. 1997. On playing the economics trump card in the philosophy of science: Why it didn’t work for Michael Polanyi. Philosophy of Science 64(Suppl.): S127–S138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mirowski, Philip. 2003. What’s Kuhn got to do with it? Social Epistemology 17(2–3): 229–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mirowski, Philip. 2009. Defining neoliberalism. In The road from Mont Pelerin: The making of the neoliberal thought collective, ed. Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, 417–455. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Mirowski, Philip, and Dieter Plehwe (eds). 2009. The road from Mont Pelerin: The making of the neoliberal thought collective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Polanyi, Michael. 1962. Personal knowledge: Toward a post-critical philosophy, 1st ed. 1958. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Shapin, Steven. 1994. A social history of truth: Civility and science in seventeenth-century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Thorpe, Charles. 2010. From public engagement to democratic planning. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Science and Democracy Network, Milton Keynes, UK, June 2010.Google Scholar
  12. Wynne, Brian. 2003. Seasick on the third wave? Subverting the hegemony of propositionalism: Response to Collins & Evans. Social Studies of Science 33(3): 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations