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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 41, Issue 3, 2014/2015

Stephen Turner
Pages 39-41

Embodiment and its Relation to the Tacit: Response to Nikkel

In this response to David Nikkel’s review essay on Understanding the Tacit, his suggestion that the book fails to incorporate insights from embodiment theorists is addressed. It is noted, against his appeal to the example of Lakoff’s and Johnson’s discussion of the bodily origins of metaphors used in reasoning, that there are problems with treating particular embodied elements as ineliminable. Also noted is the evidence of Luria’s studies of reasoning among the unschooled, which suggest that syllogistic inference is learned, which raises questions about the relation of embodied knowing and these kinds of inferences. It is suggested that another kind of embodiment thinking, involving emulation, is a better way to approach higher reasoning, and by extension also the kind of specialized knowledge usually discussed as tacit knowledge by Polanyi.

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