Toward the Recovery of Common Sense in a Post-critical Intellectual Ethos

Tradition and Discovery 19 (1):5-15 (1992)
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Abstract

The modern critical tradition’s strategy for defeating the demon of self doubt and securing certainty, as Hannah Arendt has written, restricts serious candidates for belief to those whose conditions of truth can be rendered wholly immanent to focal consciousness within a point of view that is simply taken for granted. Thereby it forecloses the possibility of recognizing the partiality of its own perspective vis-a-vis that of others, taking into account the relevant perspectives of other persons, and reaching any kind of sense in common between perspectives. The institutionalization of this strategy in 20th century academic life is amply and insightfully documented in Bruce Wilshire’s Moral Collapse of the University. Michael Polanyi, in his writings, adumbrates a post-critical intellectual ethos in whichthe making of sense in common between persons of differing perspective is central to the enterprise of teaching, learning, and research. Key elements of such an intellectual ethos are articulated and explored.

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