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A Rose by Any Other Name? Personal Knowledge and Hermeneutics.

Mulherin, Chris (2010) A Rose by Any Other Name? Personal Knowledge and Hermeneutics. In: Knowing and Being: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Michael Polanyi. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne,UK, pp. 68-79. ISBN 1-4438-2062-8


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It is an interesting accident of history that in the space of a couple of years in the mid 20th century, two of the most significant critiques of objectivism and impersonal knowledge were published. Michael Polanyi's 'Personal Knowledge' was published in 1958 and Hans-Georg Gadamer's 'Truth and Method' in 1960. Yet apparently neither author was significantly influenced by the other. While protesting against objectivism and the notion that knowledge or understanding is the outcome of impersonal method, both Polanyi and Gadamer also rejected subjectivist and relativist implications of their work. In Polanyian terms both personal knowledge and Gadamerian hermeneutics have universal intent. The work of both authors was also universal in another way: Gadamer's hermeneutics was a universal analysis of the problem of all human understanding, and while Polanyi focussed initially on scientific knowing he soon found himself working towards a universal epistemology, or in his words, "an alternative ideal of knowledge, quite generally" (1958:vii). This presentation explores some parallels between Polanyi's personal knowledge and the tradition of Gadamerian hermeneutics and is motivated by three questions: 1. To what extent are the fields of philosophical hermeneutics and Polanyi's work on personal knowledge saying similar things albeit in different languages? 2. How can philosophical hermeneutics and Polanyi's personal knowledge mutually inform one another? 3. Is this a good problem? Can we move towards a fusion of Gadamerian universal hermeneutics and Polanyian personal knowledge?

Item Type: Book Chapters
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Michael Polanyi, Hans-Georg Gadamer, philosophical hermeneutics, objectivism, subjectivism, personal knowledge
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: A - Humanities, general
A - Philosophy
College/Association with University of Divinity: CTC: Catholic Theological College
Depositing User: Users 112 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 00:39
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2012 23:03
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/894

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