Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension LO25901

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 01/16/01

Replying to LO25875 --

Dear Organlearners,

Artur Silva <artsilva@mail.eunet.pt> writes:

>First, I have used (as Polanyi) "tacit knowing" and not
>"tacit knowledge". Now you understand why...

Greetings Artur,

How do you know that now I understand?

I learned, especially in teaching, that a direct mind observation is for
me an impossible task. I have to make use of informative artifacts
(information) created by another person to get a peep into the mind of
that person. This indirect mind reading is rich in misconcpetions as
Polanyi often points out.

In fact, I do not understand what you claim I do understand. I consulted
"Personal Knowledge" as well as "Meaning" ("The Tacit Dimension"is not yet
available) to make sure whether Polanyi uses only "tacit knowing". He uses
both "tacit knowledge" and "tacit knowing" in both books. I could not find
any special denotation why he uses the one or the other. Thus it "seems"
that he uses them according to the rules of English grammer.

I write that it "seems" because he may give a special denotation in "The
Tacit Dimension". Since I myself want to become sure, we will have to wait
until I can scrutinise also "The Tacit Dimension". Sureness is one of
several requisites to my creativity and learning.

>Here we go again: tacit knowing is the one that
>CAN NOT be articulated (by no one)...

The same applies here too. I could not find any sentence in both "Personal
Knowledge" and "Meaning" with the meaning which you stress above, although
I could find articulations from which the meaning which you stress above
can be infered. A directly presented meaning and a logically infered
meaning are not the same thing. So we will have to wait once again for
"The Tacit Dimension" in which the answer seems to be.

I have a rather strange thought. What if The Tacit Dimension also could
not provide us with an answer? Polanyi stresses that we each use our
personal knowledge (with its tacit dimension) to peep into the future and
that this is "blatantly incomplete". If only he could have know how great
a stir his description or definition of tacit know-ing/ledge would cause
on some email list. But in those days neither PCs nor Internet were even
imagined, nor even the articulation of the Learning Organistion ;-)

>PS: have you already read your Christmas books?
>Did you began with the one I have suggested?

There is a time for patience like a breeding dove and a time for fast
action like a hitting viper. Here in Africa we learn both kinds of time to
survive -- to become both a dove and a snake according to the nature of
each as the circumstances dict. We call the whole of them "Africa time".
Believe it or not, I have to battle daily against the constraint of
"Africa time".

As for the book which you have suggested, we here in Africa have to deal
with reorderings of orders and orderings of not yet ordereds which make
some minds reel with all the implicit chaos. I have received "Personal
Knowledge" (an earlier book) and "Meaning" (the last book) of Polanyi.

I like the way in which they arrived because "The Tacit Dimension" lies in
between them. The way in which my mind as a scientist works, is to observe
among other things the evolution of mind from the one to the other. >From
these first stage observations I then create as richly as possible
speculations to what might have happened in between. After these second
stage speculations I subject them to falsifications in the third stage by
making additional observations and comparing them with my speculations.
Therfore I will definitely need The Tacit Dimension to reach some
understanding in stage three.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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