The Role of the Person in the Scientific Activity: Discovery as an Act of Understanding in Michael Polanyi
Keywords:Person, Science, Comprehension, Whole, Polanyi
In the present milieu, on which the sciences have an increasing influence and within which sciences present themselves as the example of strong truths but are often opposed to the person, this study intends to offer a dissimilar contribution, by presenting a case for reconciliation and continuity between person and science. Given that the personalistic dimensions of sciences are, in reality, a wide area of investigation, this study does not explore all aspects but focusses on a central issue: that which is necessary for grasping the complex structure studied in the sciences. For this purpose, Michael Polanyi’s thought has been examined and in particular, tacit knowledge. This is because it shows in a convincing way, also on the epistemological level, that the whole cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts. That means that the complex entity cannot be grasped in a process from simple data. Therefore, in order to grasp the whole, an act of intellectual comprehension is necessary, that as such requires a particular capacity of the person, that of obtaining universality and objectivity.