Iwo Zmyslony BA. (Catholic University Leuven)

Michael Polanyi's notion of tacit knowledge

Polanyi is ussually listed among such modern philosophers of science as Hanson, Toulmin, Kuhn or Feyerabend, yet his name is rather hardly mentioned and his philosophy remains unrevealed. His main idea however - namely the notion of tacit knowledge - has occured very fertile and influential, widespreading since the 80ties into such diverse domains like e.g. cognitive science, artificial intelligence or theories of management even.

The purpose of my paper is to introduce and clarify systematically the Polanyi's notion of tacit knowledge. Since his philosophy is practically unknown I shall begin with the general introduction by presenting a short biographical and bibliographical sketch of the author's profile. The next step will expose the systhematical backround of his philosophical views and some semantical context of the analysed term. In order to the notorious ambiguity of the polanyian category, the various concepts of tacit knowledge will be given.

Polanyi's notion of tacit knowledge is usually screened by facing the fact that we know more than we can tell. The central part of my paper will thus demonstrate and explorate the examples of those facts, by showing some Gestalt experiments that inspirated Polanyi's conception first. This is ment for displaying the concealed dynamic nature of our perception, namely the so-called tacit dimension attributed by Polany to the structure of our minds, our knowledge and the whole reality. Understanding of the very structure will be further broaded by introducing some other major terms from Polanyi's epistemology (e.g. subsidiary clues, focal whole, indwelling) and applying them to explain such phenomenons as scientific discover or paradigm in the science.

M.A. Student of Philosophy and the History of Art at the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland); researched on german analytical philosophy and hermeneutics at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitšt Freiburg (Germany); currently at the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) preparing his master bout the notion of tacit knowledge by Michael Polanyi. Interested in ontology, axiology and epistemology in hermeneutical approach.