Society, Economics, and Philosophy : Selected Papers book cover
1st Edition

Society, Economics, and Philosophy
Selected Papers

ISBN 9781412864039
Published August 30, 2016 by Routledge
404 Pages

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Book Description

Michael Polanyi was a polymath who primarily studied medicine and chemistry. Precisely because of Polanyi's work in the physical sciences, his writings have a unique dimension not found in other advocates of the market and too infrequently found even in philosophers of science. Society, Economics, and Philosophy represents the full range of his interests outside of his scientific work: economics, politics, society, philosophy of science, religion and positivist obstacles to it, and art.

Polanyi was a powerful critic of totalitarianism and of the deficiencies of the usual defences of freedom which helped to prepare the way for it. Freedom, he argued, can be based only upon truth and dedication to transcendent ideals, not upon scepticism, utilitarianism, and the liberty of doing merely as one pleases. More radically than even von Mises and Hayek, Polanyi showed that an industrial economy can operate only "polycentrically," that central planning is logically impossible, and that what was called by that name in the Soviet Union was in reality no such thing. Likewise, scientific research can proceed, not by a central plan, but only by the spontaneous self-adjustment of separate initiatives to discover a common reality.

Table of Contents



Part I: Political Questions


1. To the Peacemakers (1917)
2. New Scepticism (1919)
3. Jewish Problems (1943)
4. The Struggle Between Truth and Propaganda (1936)
5. Rights and Duties of Science (1939)
6. History and Hope: An Analysis of Our Age (1962)
7. A Postscript (1963)
8. Why Did We Destroy Europe? (1970)

Part II: Economic and Social Theory


9. Collectivist Planning (1940)
10. Profits and Private Enterprise (1948)
11. The Foolishness of History (1957)
12. Toward a Theory of Conspicuous Production (1960)
13. The Determinants of Social Action (1969)
14. On Liberalism and Liberty (1955)

Part III: The Theory and Practice of Science


15. Science: Observation and Belief (1947)
16. Science and Reality (1967)
17. Creative Imagination (1966)
18. Genius in Science (1972)
19. Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry (1967)
20. Do Life Processes Transcend Physics and Chemistry? (1968)

Part IV: Mind, Religion, Art


21. The Hypothesis of Cybernetics (1951)
22. The Body-Mind Relation (1968)
23. The Scientific Revolution (1961/4)
24. Polanyi's Logic—Answer (1966)
25. What is a Painting? (1970)

Appendix I: An Annotated Bibliography of Michael Polanyi's Publications on Society, Economics, and Philosophy

Appendix II: Summaries of Papers Not Republished
Either above or in Polanyi's Books


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