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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 28, Issue 3, 2001/2002

Yu Zhenhua
Pages 6-19
DOI: 10.5840/traddisc2001/200228336

Two Cultures Revisited
Michael Polanyi on the Continuity Between the Natural Sciences and the Study of Man

Polanyi’s response to Snow’s problem is a two-step strategy. First, he undermines the supposed gap between the natural sciences and the study of man and establishes the continuity between them. Second, based upon what is achieved in the first step, he explores the distinctions between scientific and humanistic meanings. All this is achieved on the basis of his theory of tacit knowing. Three features of this theory merit attention: (1) the predominance of the participatory perspective; (2) the recovery of the hermeneutic dimension of science; and (3) the constructive use of Heidegger’s “being-in-the-world.”