読者です 読者をやめる 読者になる 読者になる

暗黙の焦点 別宅。

Michael Polanyiに捧げる研鑽の日々。

HARPER TORCHBOOK edition

マイケルの主著"Personal Knowledge"には1958年のシカゴ大学出版局版に加え、ニューヨークのHarper & Row出版による1964年HARPER TORCHBOOK editionがあり、後者にはマイケルによる「TORCHBOOK版まえがき」が載っている。 

f:id:tacit2:20120429072922j:plain

PREFACE TO THE TORCHBOOK EDITION

 The enquiry of which this volume forms part started in 1939 with a review article on J. D. Bernal's The Social Functions of Science. I opposed his view, derived from Soviet Marxism, that the pursuit of science should be directed by the public authorities to serve the welfare of society. I held that the power of thought to seek the truth must be accepted as our guide, rather than be curbed to the service of material interests. A defence of intellectual freedom on such metaphysical grounds was no more acceptable to the dominant schools of Western philosophy than to the Marxists. Believing it to be both right and important, I set out in search of its justification.

 TORCHBOOK版のまえがき

私が本書で示すような探求を始めたのは、J.D.バーナル『科学の社会的機能』の書評を書いた1939年のことだった。そこで私は、ソ連マルクス主義の影響を受けたバーナルの考え、社会の繁栄に資するよう国家の権威が科学の目指すところを方向付けるべきだという考えに反対した。真理を求める思考の力は ・・・訳 途中。 

 Upon examining the grounds on which science is pursued, I found that it is determined at every stage by undefinable powers of thought. No rules can account for the way a good idea is produced for starting an enquiry; and there are no rules either for the verification or the refutation of a proposed solution of a problem. Rules widely current may be plausible enough, but scientific enquiry often proceeds and triumphs by contradicting them. For example, theories select facts for their own support and yet arrive at universally valid conclusions; theories start from assumptions which scientists accept on the authority of scientific opinion, yet on such dogmatic grounds discoveries are made that prove revolutionary.

 The life of the scientific community consists in enforcing the tradition of science and assuring at the same time its continuous renewal. A dynamic free society lives as a whole in this way. It cultivates a system of traditional ideas which have the power of unlimited selfrenewal. This point was reached in Science, Faith and Society (1946) and in my other writings of that period. The idea of an autonomous growth of thought in society was taking shape.

 In the present volume (first published in 1958), I faced the task of justifying the holding of unproven traditional beliefs. I made an extensive survey of current fiduciary commitments intrinsic to the intellectual and social life of modern man. Under the entry of "fiduciary program," the Index lists more than forty declarations of belief,scattered throughout the book. Many of these beliefs are not universally held and all of them could conceivably be false; yet some such set of beliefs is clearly indispensable: the ideal of strict objectivism is absurd.

 Any particular commitment can be challenged, but only on the grounds of a rival commitment. The only question is then, how a particular set of beliefs can be justified. Three-quarters of this book serves to introduce my answer, stated within a framework declared to be my own commitment. I claim that no more than such a responsible personal knowledge can be required of us.

 Following this declaration, I outline a theory of biology within the logic of personal knowledge and a demonstration that life, thus conceived, offers us the spectacle of man in possession of personal knowledge emerging in the process of organic evolution.

 But there is a parallel line of argument hi the book which goes deeper and has shown greater potentialities for further development. In surveying the places where human knowledge rests on a belief, I have hit upon the fact that this fiduciary element is intrinsic to the tacit component of knowledge. Two distinctions arise here: the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge and between focal and subsidiary awareness.

 When we are relying on our awareness of something (A) for attending to something else (B), we are but subsidiarily aware of A. The thing B to which we are thus focally attending, is then the meaning of A. The focal object B is always identifiable, while things like A, of which we are subsidiarily aware, may be unidentifiable. The two kinds of awareness are mutually exclusive: when we switch our attention to something of which we have hitherto been subsidiarily aware, it loses its previous meaning. Such is briefly, the structure of tacit knowing.

 Now to the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge. Things of which we are focally aware can be explicitely identified; but no knowledge can be made wholly explicit. For one thing, the meaning of language, when in use, lies in its tacit component; for another, to use language involves actions of our body of which we have only a subsidiary awareness. Hence, tacit knowing is more fundamental than explicit knowing: we can know more than we can tell and we can tell nothing without relying on our awareness of things we may not be able to tell.

 Things which we can tell, we know by observing them; those that we cannot tell, we know by dwelling in them. All understanding is based on our dwelling in the particulars of that which we comprehend. Such indwelling is a participation of ours in the existence of that which we comprehend; it is Heidegger's being-in-the-world. Indwelling is also the instrument by which comprehensive entities are known throughout the world. It is from the logic of indwelling that I have derived in Part IV of this book the conception of a- stratified universe and the evolutionary panorama, leading to the rise of man equipped with the logic of comprehension.

 My later writings, including a new book on press, are less occupied with the justification of our ultimate commitments and concentrate instead on working out precisely the operations of tacit knowing. Once knowing by indwelling is seen to work everywhere and we see ancient problems resolved by understanding its peculiar logic; and once the logic of tacit knowing expands into a theory of creative thought which is in turn identified with the logic of evolutionary emergence; our growing familarity with ubiquitous indwelling brings about the unquestioning acceptance of the paradox that all knowledge is ultimately personal. 

 The power of science to grow by the originality of individual thought is thus established within a cosmic perspective of steadily emergent meaning. Science, conceived as understanding nature, seamlessly joins with the humanities, bent on the understanding of man and human greatness. Man's ideals, unfolding in action, come into view. (I have first set out this view in The Study of Man.)

 Indwelling is being-in-the-world. Every act of tacit knowing shifts our existence, re-directing, contracting our participation in the world. Existentialism and phenomenology have studied such processes under other names. We must re-interpret such observations now in terms of the more concrete structure of tacit knowing.

Oxford 

June 22, 1964

M.P.