Polanyi Condensate LO25926

From: Artur F. Silva (artsilva@mail.eunet.pt)
Date: 01/18/01

Replying to LO25899

Dear At:

At 10:05 16-01-2001 +0200, AM de Lange wrote:

> >
> >It's a pity, Fred, that the Tacit Dimension was not
> >the first book to arrive there ;-)
>Greetings Artur,
>Your remark made me curious. Allow me to ask you a frank question.
>Why did you made this remark?

Before answering your question, At, let me first thank you for your
splendid "learning condensates" - they are extremely useful. In one of
your last mails (and if I recall well) you made a comment about your need
to re-read many books and your lack of time to do that. I feel the same.
And if any one of us could make summaries or learning condensates of the
books one reads or re-reads this would multiply enormously our collective
capacity to learn new things.

Let me also clarify that I have a lot of work right now and that is the
reason I am not answering to posts that I am following very interested. I
have not even the time to summarise some books I reread in this last
months and I have promised to send. I hope I can do that soon.
[Interestingly I began with Polanyi and see what is going on; wait until
you see the summaries from Argyris and Schon or from de Gues, that are all
PREVIOUS to my "piece de resistance" - Metanoia revisited ;-) ]

Now in what concerns your question, I think that "The Tacit Dimension"
(TD, from now on) is the central book from Polanyi. I am not saying the
most important. But the one where he clarified things he could not
understand before and did not repeat afterwards.

For instance, from the books you re-red you are trying to understand the
relation between the use of knowledge and knowing or if he thinks that
tacit knowledge can not be articulated. I think that "The Tacit Dimension"
answers that, and you would profit if, by chance, this book was the first
one to arrive to you. I will try to clarify this answering a different
mail from you:

At 11:19 16-01-2001 +0200, AM de Lange wrote:

>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? (...)
>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.

Oh, it seams that I was wrong. Let me clarify what made me think you had
understood. You said (and was this that I was commenting)

>That wisdom is tacit (but not tacit
>knowledge) to those whom the knowledge cannot be articulated.

If there is "tacit wisdom" that is not "tacit knowledge" than I conclude
that Polanyi would call that "tacit knowing". And I also concluded that
you would understand that. I was wrong. The point is that I have recently
re-read TD and you haven't... I quote from TD:

"I shall always use "knowing" therefor to cover both practical and
theoretical knowledge. We can, acordingly, interpret the use of tools, of
probes, and of pointers as further instances of the art of knowing, and
may add to our list also the denotative use of language..." (pag 7)

>From that and other parts of TD, Polanyi says that Knowing is more general
than knowledge and includes most of the tacit elements... Please confirm
that when you reread TD.

> >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 am not sure at the moment (and I have not time to re-re-read the book)
if you will find that clearly articulated or if one has to conclude that
it is only present in tacit form ;-)

If fact in the beginning of the book, as a justification for all he will
say after that, he says:

"I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that
transformed the italic in Capitals)

So it is the fact that there is knowledge/knowing that one can't
tell/articulate that is in the origin of TD demarche. I hope I have
explained the reason why I would like TD to be the first book that you
should re-read. And also, that I am looking forward with a great curiosity
to see your condensate of it.

Best wishes


PS: And yes, I also agree with Maggie, that in a hierarchical society we
say "superior" or "higher" (tacit vs explicit) incorrectly to say
something else (more fundamental? more profound? something differnt?).

And, lastly, yes, Leo, if you took the time to follow me until this point,
I agree that the way we see "time", at least in relativistic physics, has
everything to do with what we are discussing here, as I shall explain
better when i will have time to fully answer Wienfrid's questions ;-)


"Artur F. Silva" <artsilva@mail.eunet.pt>

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