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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 40, Issue 1, 2013/2014

Jon Fennell
Pages 45-52

Plausibility and Common Sense

Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, an analytic philosophical excursion into the meaning and implications of the mind-body problem, has striking parallels to Michael Polanyi’s thought, especially as it is captured in Personal Knowledge. Indeed, Nagel’s courageous and honest challenge to the evolutionary naturalistic orthodoxy that is currently ascendant in elite opinion is perhaps best understood, via Nagel’s emphasis on plausibility and common sense, in terms of the faith and commitment that Polanyi places at the center of his thought. But the relationship between the two philosophers moves in both directions: Study of Nagel casts useful light on Polanyi as well.

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