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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 46, Issue 2, July 2020

Phil Mullins
Pages 4-20

The Context of Michael Polanyi’s “What to Believe”

This essay contextualizes Polanyi’s 1947 talk, “What to Believe.” After reviewing connections that probably led to Polanyi’s invitation to make this presentation at the Student Christian Movement conference in Manchester, I comment on Polanyi’s effort to compare the connection between understanding, believing and belonging in science, Christianity and “civic morality.” The main ideas in this talk should be viewed in relation to other writing from the mid-forties to the early fifties when Polanyi begins to develop his “fiduciary” philosophy as an alternative to what he views as the excessively skeptical disposition of the modern mind.

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