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Michael Polanyi

Data di nascita: 11. Marzo 1891
Data di morte: 22. Febbraio 1976

Michael Polanyi è stato un filosofo, economista e chimico ungherese.

„Nessun animale è in grado di apprezzare le bellezze intellettive della scienza.“

„Le teorie del metodo scientifico che cercano di spiegare la determinazione della verità scientifica mediante un procedimento formale puramente oggettivo, sono destinate al fallimento.“

„La scienza, in virtù della sua rilevanza emozionale, trova posto fra i grandi sistemi di espressione che cercano di evocare e di imporre modi corretti di sentire.“

„La scienza, nell'insegnare il proprio tipo di eccellenza formale, funzione come l'arte, la religione, la moralità, il diritto e gli altri costituenti della cultura.“

„L'affermarsi di una grande teoria scientifica è in parte un'espressione di gradimento. La teoria ha una componente inarticolata che approva la sua bellezza, e questo è essenziale a costituire la convinzione che la teoria è vera.“

„La scienza non può sperare di sopravvivere su un'isola di fatti positivi, intorno alla quale il resto dell'eredità intellettiva dell'uomo venga sommerso nella condizione di emozionalità soggettiva.“

„We do not accept a religion because it offers us certain rewards. The only thing that a religion can offer us is to be just what it, in itself, is: a greater meaning in ourselves, in our lives, and in our grasp of the nature of things... a religion exists for us only if, like a piece of poetry, it carries us away. It is not in any sense a 'hypothesis.“ Meaning

„We know more than we can tell.“

„To try to reform all the power structures at once would leave us with no power structure to use in our project. In any case, we will be able to see that absolute moral renewal could be attempted only by an absolute power and that a tyrannous force such as this must destroy the whole moral life of man, not renew it.“ Meaning

„So far as we know, the tiny fragments of the universe embodied in man are the only centers of thought and responsibility in the visible world. If that be so, the appearance of the human mind has been so far the ultimate stage in the awakening of the world; and all that has gone before, the striving of myriad centers that have taken the risks of living and believing, seem to have all been pursuing, along rival lines, the aim now achieved by us up to this point. They are all akin to us, for all these centers - those which led up to our own existence and the far more numerous others which produced different lines of which many are extinct - may be seen engaged in the same endeavor towards ultimate liberation. We may envisage then a cosmic field which called forth all these centers by offering them a short-lived, limited, hazardous opportunity for making some progress of their own towards an unthinkable consummation. And that is also, I believe, how a Christian is placed when worshiping God.“ Personal Knowledge

„We cannot ultimately specify the grounds (either metaphysical or logical or empirical) upon which we hold that our knowledge is true. Being committed to such grounds, dwelling in them, we are projecting ourselves to what we believe to be true from or through these grounds. We cannot therefore see what they are. We cannot look at them because we are looking with them.“ Meaning

„Christianity sedulously fosters, and in a sense permanently satisfies, man's craving for mental dissatisfaction by offering him the comfort of a crucified God.“ Personal Knowledge

„A steady recognition that the evils which prevent the fullness of moral development are precisely the elements which are also the source of the power that gives existence to whatever moral accomplishments we see about us may eventually lead us to a tolerance we grant to the internal-combustion engine: it is noisy and smelly, and occasionally, it refuses to start, but it is what gets us to wherever we get.
We must somehow learn to understand and so to tolerate- not destroy- the free society.“

„It was the merit of Gestalt psychology to make us aware of the remarkable performance involved in perceiving shapes. Take, for example, a ball or an egg: we can see their shapes at a glance. Yet suppose that instead of the impression made on our eye by an aggregate of white points forming the surface of an egg, we were presented with another, logically equivalent, presentation of these points as given by a list of their spatial co-ordinate values. It would take years of labour to discover the shape inherent in this aggregate of figures - provided it could be guessed at all. The perception of the egg from the list of co-ordinate values would, in fact, be a feat rather similar in nature and measure of intellectual achievement to the discovery of the Copernican system.“

„as human beings, we must inevitably see the universe from a centre lying within ourselves and speak about it in terms of a human language shaped by the exigencies of human intercourse. Any attempt rigorously to eliminate our human perspective from our picture of the world must lead to absurdity.“ Personal Knowledge

„The downfall of liberty which in every case followed the success of these attacks demonstrates in hard facts what we said before: that freedom of thought is rendered pointless and must disappear wherever reason and morality are deprived of their status as a force in their own right. When a judge in a court of law can no longer appeal to law and justice; when neither a witness, nor the newspapers, nor even a scientist reporting on his experiments can speak the truth as he knows it; when in public life there is no moral principle commanding respect; when the revelations of religion and of art are denied any substance; then there are no grounds left on which any individual may justly make a stand against the rulers of the day. Such is the simple logic of totalitarianism. A nihilistic regime will have to undertake the day-to-day direction of all activities which are otherwise guided by the intellectual and moral principles that nihilism declares empty and void. Principles must be replaced by the decrees of an all-embracing party line.“ Meaning

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