Sunday, January 23, 2011

Polanyi on the post-Copernican call "to abandon all sentimental egoism, and . . . see ourselves objectively in the true perspective of time and space"

"Here, then, are the true characteristics of objectivity as exemplified by the Copernican theory.  Objectivity does not demand that we estimate man's significance in the universe by the minute size of his body, by the brevity of his past history or his probable future career.  It does not require that we see ourselves as a mere grain of sand in a million Saharas.  It inspires us, on the contrary, with the hope of overcoming the appalling disabilities of our bodily existence, even to the point of conceiving a rational idea of the universe which can authoritatively speak for itself.  It is not a counsel of self-effacement, but the very reversea call to the Pygmalion in the mind of man."

Michael Polanyi, Personal knowledge: towards a post-critical philosophy (London:  Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973 (1962, 1958)), 5.

No comments: