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Title: The philosophy of Michael Polanyi as a political philosophy
Author: Brownhill, R. J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3505 6475
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1973
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Polanyi argues that it is not possible for a scientist to be objective for he has to rely on heuristic passion and a commitment to his beliefs. This leads him to virtually reject the concept of the objectivity of the scientific community controlling the development of science by the application of impersonal tests. Science he claims is controlled by the inter-personal knowledge of the scientific community, by a consensus of opinion. Yet science progresses and progress can only come about by the initiatives of individual scientists. This leads Polanyi to develop a theoryof liberal conservatism: a situation where the excesses of individual initiatives are controlled by the authority of the scientific community, who judge new claims to knowledge by reference to their inter-personal or traditional knowledge. It is Polanyi's claim that the scientific community can be used as a prototype to study other communities concerned with scholarship and intellectual activity. The expansion of his concepts to the judicial community and schools of history is therefore examined. But Polanyi has a further claim and this is that non-intellectual communities, although not developing a systematic tradition will have a coherent one and therefore will operate in a similar way to the scientific community. This enables us to see how he can expand his concepts to the moral community, the community of politicians and society as a whole. In this thesis Polanyi's philosophy of science is critically examined, as well as his attempts to use the scientific community as prototype for other communities. We also examine and criticise his use of a vitalist theory of evolution, and his attempt to provide a unification of all knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available