Science, Faith, and Society

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 15, 1964 - Philosophy - 96 pages
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In its concern with science as an essentially human enterprise, Science, Faith and Society makes an original and challenging contribution to the philosophy of science. On its appearance in 1946 the book quickly became the focus of controversy.

Polanyi aims to show that science must be understood as a community of inquirers held together by a common faith; science, he argues, is not the use of "scientific method" but rather consists in a discipline imposed by scientists on themselves in the interests of discovering an objective, impersonal truth. That such truth exists and can be found is part of the scientists' faith. Polanyi maintains that both authoritarianism and scepticism, attacking this faith, are attacking science itself.
 

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This was published in 1946 and it was way ahead of its time. A must for every teacher of science. However, this book deserves a much wider audience than just science teachers. Polanyi challenges us all to consider why we engage in discussion and argument – is it just to win the argument or are we genuinely engaged in a search for truth? Important issues when teaching – no matter what subject.  

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Contents

SCIENCE AND REALITY
23
AUTHORITY AND CONSCIENCE
44
DEDICATION OR SERVITUDE
65
1 PREMISES OF SCIENCE
87
2 SIGNIFICANCE OF NEW OBSERVATIONS
92
3 CORRESPONDENCE WITH OBSERVATIONS
96
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About the author (1964)

Michael Polanyi was a Fellow of the Royal Society of England, a professor of physical chemistry and of social studies at the University of Manchester, and a Fellow of Merton College at Oxford. He was the author of many books, of which the University of Chicago Press has published Personal Knowledge, The Logic of Liberty, Meaning, The Study of Man, and Knowing and Being.

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