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DEUTSCHE MEDIZINISCHE W0CHENSCHRIFr

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76. J A H R G A N G STUTTGART, 28.SEPTEMBER 1951 NUMMER 39

KLINIK UND FORSCHUNG


Gehirn und Seele1 Zunächst aber galt es, genaue Kenntnisse über Bau und
Funktionsweise des Nervensystems zu gewinnen und Psycho-
Von K a r I K 1 e j s t logie zu lernen. Während meines Medizinstudiums wurden

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Die Gehirnpathologie stellt bei örtlichen Verletzungen, Er- 1901 gleichzeitig von Apathy und Bethe die Neuro-
weichungsherden, Geschwülsten und anderen umschriebenen f j b r i 1 1 e n e n t d e c k t, die von einer Nervenzelle in die
Erkrankungen des Gehirns einzelne seelische Ausfälle fest, die andere übergehen und somit die Grenzen der Neurone über-
von Ort zu Ort verschieden sind, und schließt daraus auf see- schreiten können. In einem Versuch am Tasdienkrebs zeigte
lische Einzelleistungen, die versèhiedenen Formgebilden des B e t h e ferner, daß die Nervenzellen von ihren Fortsätzen
Gehirns - der Großhirnrinde und des Hirnstammes - zuge- abgetrennt werden können, ohne daß dadurch die außerhalb
ordnet sind. Diese Erfahrungen sind durch die Beobachtungen der Zelle von einem Fortsatz zum andern verlaufenden Reflexe
an Hirnverletzten zweier Weltkriege bedeutend erweitert wor- aufgehoben würden. Wenn d i e N e r y e n z e 1 1 e a b e r
den und wurden durch hirnphysiologische Expeiimente an nicht einmal zur Vermittlung einfacher Re-
Tier und Mensch ergänzt. f I e x e n o t w e n d i g war, so wurde es auch fraglich, ob die
Das Dasein solcher Entsprechungen zwisdien seeli- ihr zugeschriebenen spezifischen Energien, die den Empfin-
sdien Vorgängen und neurophysiologischen Abläufen an be- dungen entsprechen, den Nervenzellen angehören. Dann aber
stimmten Bau- und Formgebilden des Gehirns i s t g e s i - wäre das Nervensystem nur noch ein Organ der Leitung, Ver-
chert aber über die Art dieser Entsprechun- knüpfung, Umschaltung und Umsetzung von Reiz in Bewegung.
Damit aber gewann die Frage D u o i s - R e y m o n d s wie
gen ist damit noch nichts ausgemacht. Meine das Gehirn zu denken vermöchte, ein völlig anderes Gesicht.
eigenen Uberlegungen zu den Fragen von ,,Gehirn und Seele"
gehen bis in meine Sthülerzeit zurück; kurz vor Beginn meines Wieder einige Jahre später, als Assistent der Halleschen Ner-
Medizinstudiums erhielten sie eine bestimmtere Richtung durch venklinik, in der Schule Z i e h e n s und W e r n j c k e s psy-
D u B o is - R e ym o n d s berühmt Rede über die ,,Grenzen chologisch und gehirnpathologisch vorbereitet, stieß ich auf
des Naturerkennens" von 1872. Ernst Machs Analyse der Empfindungen" und
Der schon von L a p 1 a c e ausgedachte, mit höchster menschlicher las dort: Somit setzen sich die Wahrnehmungen sowie die
Einsicht und astronomischer Kenntnis ausgestattete Geist - so sagte Vorstellungen, der Wille, die Gefühle, kurz die ganze innere
D u B o j s - sähe zwar in einer aus bewegter Materie aufgebauten und äußere Welt, aus einer geringen Zahl von gleichartigen
Welt sich die Hirnmolekeln regen wie in stummem Spiel. Er über- Elementen in bald flüchtigerer, bald festerer Verbindung zu-
sähe ihre Scharen, er durchschaute ihre Verschränkungen, und Er- sammen Man nennt diese Elemente gewöhnlich Empfindungen
fahrung lehrte ihn, ihre Gebärde dahin auszulegen, daß sie diesem Da aber in diesem Namen schon eine einseitige Theorie liegt,
oder jenem geistigen Vorgange entspreche; aber warum sie das tun, so ziehen wir vor, kurzweg von Elementen zu sprechen
wülte er nicht. Denn ,,wisthen bestimmter Lage und Bewegung ge- Alle Forschung geht auf die Ermittlung der Verknüpfung dieser
wisser Atome eigensthaftloser Materie in der Seh-Sinn-Substanz Elemente aus."
und dem Sehen ist so wenig Beziehung wie zwischen einem ähn-
lichen Hergang in der Gehör-Sinn-Substanz und dem Hören, einem Und an anderer Stelle heißt es: Nicht die Körper erzeugen
dritten in der Geruchs-Sinn-Substanz und dem Riechen usw.". Die Empfindungen, sondern Elementenkomplexe (Empfindungskom-
nicht weiter zu definierende, nicht wegzuleugnende Tatsache:. Ich plexe) bilden die Körper. Erscheinen dem Physiker die Körper
fühle Schmerz, fühle Lust, fühle warm, fühle kalt, ich schmecke Süßes, als das Bleibende, Wirkliche, die Elemente hingegen als ihr
rieche Rosenduft, höre Orgelton, (ehe Rot ....könnte in keine denk- flüchtiger vorübergehender Schein, so beachtet er nicht, daß
bare Verbindung gebracht werden mit bestimmten Bewegungen be alle Körper nur Gedankensymbole für Elementenkomplexe
stimmter Atome in meinem Gehirn. Zu dieser völligen Verschieden- (Empfindungskomplexe) sind... Die Welt besteht also für uns
heit und Unvergleichbarkeit komme hinzu, daß die geistigen Vor-
gänqe außerhalb des Kausalgesetzes ständen und schon darum nicht nicht aus rätselhaften Wesen, welche durch Wechselwirkung
zu verstehen seien.,, Bewegung kann nur Bewegung erzeugen oder mit einem anderen ebenso rätselhaften Wesen, dem Ich, die
in potentielle Energie zurück sich verwandeln, die Summe der Ener- allein zugänglichen Empfindungen" erzeugen. Die Farben,
gie bleibt dabei stets dieselbe. Mehr, als dieses Gesetz bestimmt, Töne, Räume, Zeiten sind für uns vorläufig die letzten Ele-
kann in der Körperwelt nicht geschehen, auch nicht weniger; die mente, deren gegebenen Zusammenhang wir zu erforschen
mechanische Ursache geht rein auf in der mechanischen Wirkung. haben." -

Die neben den materiellen Vorgängen im Gehirn einhergehenden Die Fortschritte, die die Psychologie seitdem gemacht hat
geistigen Vorgänge entbehren also für unseren Verstand des zurei- und die uns Intentionen, Akte, unanschauliche Denkerlebnisse
chentlen Grundes." Wiè Materie und Ktaft zu denken vermögen", sei und seelische Ganzheiten kennen gelehrt haben, ändern an die-
und bleibe demnach unverständlich: I g n o r a b i m u s.
Trotz der Enttäuschung, die D u B o j s mir damit bereitete, sem Grundsatze nichts. Nach dieser Betrachtungsweise ist
verdanke ich ihm sehr viel. Ich sah nun klar, daß m a t e r i - Du Bois-Reymonds Frage, wie die Materie zu
elle und seelische Erscheinungen verschie- d e n k e n y e r m ö g e, wie das Gehirn es anfange, daß ich
denen, aber gleichberechtigten Bereichen an- sehe, falsch gestellt; sie ist ein S c h e i n p r o b 1 e m. Es kann
g e h ä r e n. Mochte ihr Verhältnis zueinander auch undurch- gar nicht gefragt werden, auf welche Weise das Gehirn als
schaubar sein, so stand doch fest, daß die materielle Welt nicht ein Teil der Materie Empfindungen und andere seelische Er-
allein existierte und die seelische in sich beschlösse. Gegen den scheinungen hervorrufe, sie als deren Ursache béwirke; denn
Materialismus in jeder Form war ich von da an gefeit. zwischen Gehirn und Seele besteht kein ur-
sächliches Verhältnis, sondern lediglich das der
Abschiedsvorlesung beim Rücktritt von Lehramt und Leitung der Entsprechung, ein psycho-physischer ParaI-
Frankfurter Nervenklinik; gehalten am 27. Júli 1950. I e li sm u s.
1198 K 1 e j s t: Gehirn und Seele Dtsch. med. Wschr., 76. Jg.

Man wendet dagegen ein, das sei keine Erklärung. Es an der Grenze ihres 4. und 3. Viertels - von oben gerechnet
ist aber nur ' insofern keine Erklärung, als es k e i n e u r - gereizt worden, wo die Felder für die Sensibilität des Daumens
sächliche Erklärung ist. In einem weiteren Sinne und der Lippen übeeinander liegen. Es hätte auch sein kön-
kann es sehr wohl eine Erklärung sein; denn es gibt noch nen, daß der Kranke gesagt hätte, er fühle es wie einen Hand-
andere Arten von Erklärungen. Erklärung, klar schuh über seinem linken Daumen und so, als ob er eine Ziga-
machen heißt, eine unerwartete neue Erscheinung auf schon rette im linken Mundwinkel trüge. In einem Falle erschienen
bekannte zurückführen, sie einer bewährten Denkgewohnheit ihm Teile der Tastgestalt seines Leibes, im anderen Falle ein
einordnen, gegebenenfalls unter ausreichender Änderung die- getasteter äußerer Gegenstand. Die Gehirnvorgänge, die durch
ser Denkgewohnheit, entsprechend M a c h s Grundsätzen der elektrische Reizung der hinteren Zentralwindung hervorgeru-
Stetigkeit und der zureichenden Bestimmtheit. Erklärung ver- fen wurden, entsprechen den vom Kranken erlebten Tastern-
langt ferner Vollständigkeit. Ein Vorgang ist nicht genügend plindungen. Der hier künstlich erzeugte Gehirnvorgang hat
erklärt, wenn verschiedene Seiten desselben unberücksichtigt also außer seiner elektro-physiologischen Seite auch eine
bleiben. Erklärung eines Vorganges ist daher, wie der große Parallelerscheinung im Bewußtsein des Kranken, die diesem
Physiker K j r c h o f f gesagt hat, gleichbedeutend mit vollstän- allein gegeben ist. Die Tastwahrnehmung ist aber nicht eine

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diger Beschreibung desselben. materielle Wirkung des Gehirnvorganges, denn dann 'müßte
An einem G e b ä u d e . B. beachten wir, aus welchem Material - sie auch für den Operateur und uns als Beobachter fühlbar,
Stein, Holz, Beton, Eisen - es aufgeführt ist, sodann nach welchem greifbar oder sichtbar geworden sein. D e r G e h i r n y o r -
Bauplan es gestaltet ist, aus dem Baustil schließen wir auf sein gang ist die eine, die Tastempfindung die an-
Alter und seine Herkunft aus den Zeiten der Gotik, der Renaissance, dere, ihr entsprechende, parallele Seite eines
des Kiassizismus o. a. Der Zweck und die Zweckmäßigkeit des Ge- G a n z e n.
bäudes stehen im Vordergrunde, wenn nach der Verwendung gefragt Aber wo verbinden sich diese Seiten des Ganzen? Offenbar
wird. Alle diese verschiedenen Seitèn, Ansichten, Eigenschaften nicht in den Räumen der Sinne, sondern in einer Art von
und Merkmale bestehen nebeneinander, in der Hauptsache ohne ,,Uberraum", der nur eine denkende, begriffliche
sich gegenseitig zu bedingen. Ein solcher P a r a 1 1 e 1 i s m u s d e r
E I g e n s c h a f t e n besteht aber nicht nur in geistiger Hinsicht, son-
Vereinigung gestattet.
dem kann b e j j e d e m G e g e n s t a n d e festgestellt werden. Ein Aber auch die Gegenstände sind ja, wie wir gesehen haben,
Apfel z, B. ist rotbäckig, rund, fest, glatt und gewichtig, er schmeckt nicht so einseitig", wie sie zuerst schienen. Unser Apfel war
säuerlich-süß, riecht fruchtartig; wenn er vom Aste fällt, gibt er nicht nur ein Gegenstand der Körperwelt, sondern in der Be-
einen dumpfen Ton. Diese verschiedenen sinnlichen Eigenschaften rührung mit einem Sinnesorgane tragenden Organismus ent-
des Apfels bestehen nebeneinander und sind alle mehr oder weniger faltete er diejenigen verschiedenen Eigenschaften, die von die-
wichtig; keine darf vergessen werden, wenn vollständige Knntnis sem Lebewesen als Sinnesempfindungen erlebt werden, und
des Gegenstandes erstrebt wird, Aber sie bedingen sich nicht gegen- denen Erregungsvorgänge von den Sinnesorganen bis zu den
seitig. Die rote Farbe ist nicht die Ursache des säuerlich-süßen sensorischen Rindenstätten dieses Lebewesens entsprechen. Um
Geschmackes, und die Festigkeit hängt nicht vom Geruche ab. alle diese einander parallelen Seiten der Gegenstände zu ver-
Wir können diese Eigenschaften des Apfels auch p h y s i o - einen, um eine vollständige Beschreibung derselben zu ermög-
I o g i s c h betrachten und fragen, welche Art und Form der lichen, bedarf es auch hier der Annahme eines ,Ub e r ra u m s"
Netzhauterregung der Farbe, dem Glanz und der Form des g e d a n k I i c h e r A r t.
Apfels entspricht. Wir können diese nervöse Erregung im N. Wem diese Uberlegungen fremdartig erscheinen, den ver-
opticus und den weiteren Sehbahnen bis zur Sehrinde des weise ich auf die mindestens ebenso ungewohnten Gedanken,
Hinterhauptiappens verfolgen und sie elektro-encephalogra- die die m o d e r n e P h y s i k uns zumutet. Wenn die Zeit als
phisch ableiten. Letzten Endes stellen sich die optischen Eigen- eine 4. Dimension neben den 3 bekannten Dimensionen des
schaften in bestimmt gearteten und angeordneten Erregungs- Raumes erklärt wird, so ist das Gebilde, dem diese 4 Dimen-
vorgängen der Sehrinde dar. Diese Erregungsvorgange im sionen dann angehören, weder Raum noch Zeit, sondern auch
Gehirn des den Apfel betrachtenden Menschen gehören in wei- ein jenseits jener gedachter Begriff. -
terem Sinne auch zu den Eigenschaften des Apfels und bilden Wenn wir den seelischen Vorgang als die eine und den ihm
Parallelerscheinungen zu Farbe, Glanz und Form desselben. So entsprechenden leiblichnervösen Vorgang als die andere Seite
gehören zu jedem Gegenstande auch die seinen verschiedenen eines Ganzen betrachten, so erinnert das an Theodor F e c h -
Eigenschaften entsprechenden zerebralen Erregungen bei, n e r s Auffassung, nach der Seelisches und Leibliches zwei Sei-
Mensch und Tier. Mit anderen Worten: D i e Gegenstände, a I s ten einer und derselben Sacheseien. Von F e c h n e r stammt
Komplexe ihr e r sinnlichen Eigens ch aft en b e - auch der Vergleich mit einer Kugel, die man von außen und
t r a c h t e t, haben audi zerebrale, den Eigenschaftsmerkmalen von innen betrachten könne. Und P 1 a n c k sagt neuerdings:
parallele Bestandteile. Man beachtet das im allgemeinen nicht, Körperliche und seelische Vorgänge sind gar nicht verschieden
weil es für die Beziehungen der Gegenstände untereinander von einander; es sind die nämlichen Vorgänge, nur von zwei
und für ihren Gebrauch unerheblich ist. Der Begriff eines Ge- entgegengesetzten Standpunkten betrachtet". Ihre enge Ver-
genstandes in seinem weitesten Sinne umfaßt aber auch diese koppelung sei danach selbstverständlich. So erweist sich auch
ferner liegenden Seiten und schließt insofern sinnlich-seelische für Planck das Leib-Seele-Problem als ein
und körperlich-materielle Teile in sich. S c h e i n p r o b 1 e m. Richtiger sagt man meines Erachtens,
Betrachten wir jetzt das G e h j r n und benutzen die Gele- die seelischen und die leiblich-zerebralen Vorgänge sind zwei
genheit einer operativen Freilegung der rechten Großhirnhemi- verschiedene Teile eines Ganzen. Deshalb sind auch die Ent-
späre in der Scheitelgegend zum Zwecke der Entfernung einer sprechungen zwischen den beiden Teilen des Ganzen nicht von
Gehirngeschwulst. Dieselbe ist am Gehirn äußerlich nicht sicht- vornherein und durchgängitj gegeben, sondern es muß durch
bar. Die klinische Beobachtung hat sensible Ausfallserscheinun- Beobachtung festgestellt werden, wie weit die Ubereinstim-
gen an der gegenüberliegenden linken Körperhälfte ergeben. mung géht. So sicher angenommen werden darf, daß allen
Die hintere Zentraiwindung, das sensible Rindenfeld ist aber unterscheidbaren seelischen Erscheinungen auch verschiedene
nicht sicher zu erkennen, da die Windungen abgeplattet, zusam- zerebrale Vorgänge entsprechen, so zweifelhaft ist es anderer-
mengedrängt und verschoben sind durch den offenbar im Mark- seits, ob allen baulichen Verschiedenheiten des Gehirns auch
lager sitzenden Tumor. Zur Feststellung. der hinteren Zentral- seelische Verschiedenheiten entsprechen. In diesem Sinne ist
windung wird nun die Rinde mit der Elektrode abgetastet. Mit das Leib-Seele-Pn3blem daher kein Scheinproblem.
einem Male sagt der nur örtlich betäubte Kranke.,, Es kribbelt sondern nur, soweit nach der Verursachung seelischer Vor-
in meinem linken Daumen" - und bei Reizung einer benach- gänge durch Gehirnvorgänge gefragt wird.
barten Stelle.,, Es sticht mir im linken Mundwinkel". Nun ist D u b o i s - R e ym o n d hatte zum Beweise der Unlösbarkeit
die Lage der hinteren Zentralwindung erfaßt, und zwar ist sie des Gehirn-Seele-Problems aber nicht nur die Unmöglichkeit
Nr. 39, 28. September 1951 B e h r e n d O s t e r t a g: Beitrag zur Frage über zerebrale Angiome 1199

einer ursächlichen Ableitung von Sèelischem aus Materiellem, -b e r g mit klaren Worten zugegeben wird, teilt mit unseren
sondern auch die Unvergleichbarkeit der see- seelischen Erlebnissen immer noch räumliche, zeitlicher größen-
lischen und der zerebralen Erscheinungen ge- und mengenmäßige Bestimmungen, und sein Anteil an den un-
nannt: zwischen meinen Empfindungen von Schmerz, süß, rot serem Seelenleben in besonderem Maße eigenen unanschau-
und anderen und bestimmten Bewegungen gewisser Atome in lichen Denkerlebuissen ist bedeutend größer gewordeh.
meinem Gehirn sei keine Verbindung denkbar. Dieser angeb- Von einer völligen Unvergieldibarkeit der physikalischen
lichen Unvergleichbarkeit ist aber entgegenzuhalten, daß wir Welt und der seelischen Erscheinungen, die D u b o j s - R e y -
von der Materie und ihren Bewegungen nur Kenntnis haben m o n d voraussetzte, Ist also keine Rede, wir f i n d e n y i e I -
durch unsere Sinnesempfindungen, die samt ihren räumlichen, m e h r j n b e i d e n R e I c h e n g I e j c h e E 1 e m e n t e, wenn
zeitlichen, größen- und mengenmäßigen Merkmalen den Grund- auch in anderer Weise, indem die physikalische Welt diese
stoff und die Grundlage unserer Wahrnehmungen, Vorstellun- Elemente in bestimmten festen Verbindungen enthält, während
gen, Abstrakticnen und Gedanken bilden. Daher sind in den die seelische Welt die vermöge der analysierenden Tätigkeit
Vorstellungen, die wir uns über die uns umgebenden Gegen- unserer Sinne auseinandergelösten Elemente als solche auf-
stände und unseren Leib machen, sowie in den abstrakten Be- weist.

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griffen der Materie, der Atome und ihrer Bewegungen, unsere -Diese erkenntnistheoretische Grundlage hat sich mir als trag-
Sinnesempfindungen wieder enthalten; denn zwischen Vorstel- fähig erwiesen und hat mich von der Last des psycho-physi-
lung. und Empfindung besttht kein. weseisni.äJ3igcr,sondern nur scheu Problems befreit, das andere Forscher beklagen. Es ist
ein gradueller Unterschied. ein Scheinproblem, wenn man nach dem W I e des Zusammen-
Die G e g e n s t ä n d e stellen sich dar als Komplexe sinn- hangs von Leib und Seele fragt; um so freier kann man darm
licher Wahrnehmungen und Vorstellungen. Der Apfel, der uns seine Kräfte den zahlreichen besonderen Fragen nach dem
als Beispiel gedient hat, war eine Verbindung von roter Farbe W a s und W o der Entsprechungen seelischer und zerebraler
in bestimmter Form, von Glätte, Festigkeit und Schwere, auch Erscheinungen und Vorgänge zuwenden, und das gedenke ich
diese in einer bestimmten, die optische ergänzenden dreidimen- auch nach meiner amtlichen Entpflichtung in einer dazu ge-
sionalen Form beschlossen, dazu eigenartiger Geschmack und schaffenen ,,Forschungsstelle für Gehirnpathologie und Psycho-
Geruch. pathologie weiter zu betreiben und zu lehren.
(Anschr. d. Verf.: Prof. Dr. K. K 1 e i s t, Frankfurt/M-Niederrad,
Bei unserem L e i b treten zu diesen e x t e r o z e p t i y e n Heinrich-Hoffmann-Straße 10)
Merkmalen besondere, ihm allein eigentümliche L e j b e m p -
i n d u n g e n hinzu, die wir als Innenempfindungen der Lei-
besöffnungen, Eingeweide und Blutgefäße, sowie als Eigen-
empfindungen der Bewegungsorgane, der Muskeln und Sehnen,
Knochen, Gelenke und Bänder unterscheiden: e n t e r o z e p -
tive und propriozeptive Empfindungen, denen
sich die Elemente unseres G e f u h 1 s- und T r i e b I e b e n s
anschließen und mit denen sie in die höheren Gestaltungen un-
seres Innenlebens eingehen, in das I c h und seine Gliederun-
gen. An den Innenempfindungen und ihren Verwandten treten
- im Gegensatz zu den extero- und propriozeptiven Empfin-
dungen - die räumlichen, größen- und mengenmäßigen Merk-
male stark zurü&.
Aus den sinnlichen Grundstoffen, besonders denen extero-
und propriozeptiver Art, ist unser Begriff der Materie durch
A b s t r a k t i o n entstanden, indem von den häufiger wech-
selnden und flüchtigeren zugunsten der beständigeren Merk-
male auf Grund der Erfahrung abgesehen wurde. Als die be-
ständigsten und daher zuverlässigsten Merkmale erwiesen sich
dabei die allen Sinnesempfindungen mehr oder weniger anhaf-
tenden räumlichen, zeitlichen, größen- und
mengenmäßigen Bestandteile. Unter den quali-
t a t i y e n Merkmalen zeigten sich als beständigste die vom
Haut- und Muskelsinn vermittelten Empfindungen und Wahr-
nehmungen von Druck, Schwere und Bewegung,
woraus sich die Begriffe von Masse und Kraft bzw. von der
in Raum und Zeit bewegten Materie ergaben, ebenso der Be-
griff der Teilbarkeit der Masse, der zur Vorstellung letzter Teil-
chen, der Atome, führte.
Die neuere Physik hat diesem mechanischen
- im Grunde taktil-propriozeptiven - Welt-
b il d e auch den letzten sinnhaften Gehalt genommen, indem
sie die Atome aufsprengte und als deren Teile Elektronen und
Protonen nachwies, die als elektrische Einheiten nicht unmittel-
bar wahrgenommen, sondern nur mittelbar erfaßt und erschlos-
sen werden können. Denn für Elektrizität haben wir kein Sin-
nesorgan und daher auch keine eigenartige Empfindung. Wir
empfinden Elektrizität nur mittelbar, durch Tast- und Muskel-
empfindungen, als Kribbeln, Stechen, Schlagen, Schmerz oder
als Muskelkontraktion in Starre oder Bewegung, als Wärme
z. B. bei der eLektrischen Diathermie, optisch als Blitz und
Funke, als Glühen des Metallfadens unserer Lampen. Aber auch
dieses von allen Qualitäten entblößte elektro-
dynamische Weltbild, dessen Armut von Heisen-
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136

Gehirnentwicklung (Introversion-Promination)
und Endocranialausguß

Von H.SPATZ, Frankfurt

Ubersicht über drei cerebrale Entwicklungsprinzipien


Es soll von drei untereinander zusammenhängenden Prinzipien der Hirnentwicklung
die Rede sein, von zwei bekannten und von einem wesentlich neuen, auf das näher ein-
gegangen werden soll.
Das 1. Prinzip. Es betrifft die bekannten Parallelen von Phylogenie und Ontogenie. Daß
es sich dabei um eine Regel mit vielen Ausnahmen handelt und nicht um ein Gesetz, ist
bekannt (REMANE 1960). Doch gerade für die Hirnentwicklung ist die Regel besonders
wichtig. Der alte Anatom FRIEDRICH TIEDEMANN hat bereits 1816 (das ist genau 50 Jahre
vor der Aufstellung des sogenannten "Biogenetischen Grundgesetzes" durch ERNST
HAECKEL) in einer denkwürdigen Monographie solche Parallelen aufgezeigt, wenn er auch
die Worte "Phylogenie" und "Ontogenie" noch nicht kannte. Diese Monographie betrifft
speziell die Entwicklung des Gehirns, verglichen bei Tieren und bei menschlichen Embryo-
nen.
Bezüglich der Phylogenie beschränken wir uns hier bewußt vorwiegend auf eine be-
stimmte Reihe innerhalb der plazentalen Mammalier, nämlich auf die Ordnungen der
Insectivoren und der Primaten sowie auf die quasi Zwischenform zwischen beiden, nämlich
auf die heute oft bereits zu den Primaten gerechneten Tupaiiden, welche REMANE (1956)
in seiner "Grenzgruppe" der "Subprimaten" unterbringt. - Bezüglich der Ontogenie
beschränken wir uns auf die Neuroembryologie des Menschen.
Das 2. Prinzip. Das zweite ebenfalls bekannte Prinzip der Hirnentwicklung besagt: In
Phylogenie und in Ontogenie laufen Wachstum und Differenzierung nicht überall zur
gleichen Zeit ab, sondern an verschiedenen Orten zu verschiedenen Zeiten. Dies nennen
wir das außerordentlich verbreitete "Prinzip der Heterochronie der Entwicklung der cere-
bralen Teile"!). Es gibt frühere Teile, die in der Entwicklung vorauseilen; sie dienen elemen-
taren, mehr automatischen Funktionen. Und es gibt spätere Teile, die in der Entwicklung
nachfolgen; diese sind meist mit differenzierteren, teilweise mehr willkürlichen Leistungen
betraut. (JACKSON: "Evolution is a passage from the most automatie to the most volun-
tary. ")
Der Neocortex ist in Phylogenie wie in Ontogenie ein später Teil der Großhirnrinde. Bei
den Primaten besitzt dieser Spätling in der Entwicklung außerdem jene höchst merk-
1) Im höchsten Abschnitt des Hirnstammes, im Diencephalon, braucht sich die Matrix im
Bereich des zugehörigen IH. Ventrikels schon bei menschlichen Keimlingen vom Ende des 3. intrau-
terinen Monats auf, während sich der Matrixaufbrauch im Bereich der telencephalen Seiten-
ventrikel erst einige Zeit nach der Geburt - also rund ein halbes Jahr später - vollzieht (SPATZ,
1925,1960; KAHLE, RICHTER). Auf die relativ retardierte Myelogenese im Telencephalon braucht
nur hingewiesen zu werden.
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 137

würdige, beim Menschen einen Höhepunkt erreichende Tendenz 1 ) zu einer progredienten


Entfaltung. Dabei sind innerhalb des Neocortex wieder frühere (oder primäre) und spätere
(sekundäre) Abschnitte zu unterscheiden. Wenn es zu dieser Progression des Neocortex
kommt, verhalten sich die in der Entwicklung vorausgeeilten, also früheren Hirnteile
konservativ; sie bleiben in der Entwicklung stehen, oder sie bilden sich sogar zunehmend
zurück. Letzteres trifft bei den Primaten, z. B. für den rhinencephalen Palaeocortex, die
"Frührinde" , zu, die bei den Insectivoren besonders gut ausgebildet war. -
In der Phylogenie nennt man die "früheren" Hirnteile bekanntlich vielfach die "älteren" und
die "späteren" die "jüngeren"; so werden auch wir die Bezeichnungen "palaeo" und "neo" nicht
vermeiden können. Doch der Nachteil ist, daß diese Benennungen in der Ontogenie nicht im
selben Sinn gebraucht werden können wie in der Phylogenie.
Das 3. Prinzip. Jetzt kommen wir zu dem dritten Entwicklungsprinzip, welches die
beiden zuerst genannten voraussetzt. Es ist in der Neurologie bisher kaum beachtet wor-
den; zwar ist ein Teil der zugrunde liegenden Tatsachen bekannt, aber die Einordnung
in ein umfassendes und sehr verbreitetes Prinzip ist neu. Eben deshalb soll dieses hier etwas
näher erklärt werden. Kurz formuliert, lautet das neue Prinzip: In Phylogenie und
Ontogenie werden die jeweils früheren Hirnteile mit fortschreitender Entwicklung in der
Reihenfolge ihrer Entstehung gegen das Innere zu verlagert. Das nennen wir Introversion.
Jeweils später hinzugetretene Teile dagegen ragen an der Oberfläche frei hervor. Das ist
Promination 2 ). Was hier mitgeteilt wird, ist als ein unvollkommener Anfang zu betrach-
ten. Weitere Forschung wäre erwünscht. Sicher ist, daß an dieses Prinzip öfters gedacht
werden sollte.
Ein der Introversion entsprechender Entwicklungsvorgang ist aus der allgemeinen Bio-
logie her bekannt. REMANE (1952) spricht dabei unter Bezugnahme auf J.MEcKEL (1821)
von "Internation". So wird z. B. das Trommelfell in der Phylogenie der Wirbeltiere von
seiner ursprünglich freien Situation an der Oberfläche zunehmend in das Innere verlagert.
(Man hat diesen Prozeß auch unter dem Gesichtspunkt eines Schutzes für die in die Tiefe
verlagerten Teile betrachtet.)
Bei der Entwicklung des Gehirns unterscheiden wir - das ist wichtig - zwei eng mitein-
ander verbundene Arten der Introversion. Die eine nennen wir "Retraction", die andere
"Suppression" .
Bei der Retraction sinkt die Oberfläche früherer Hirnteile ein, ohne dabei verdeckt zu
werden. Die Gehirnoberfläche rückt von der Arachnoidea nach innen zu ab. Der unter der
Arachnoidea frei werdende Raum wird durch das "Liquorkissen" der Zisternen einge-
nommen. Retrahiert sind z. B. bei den meisten Mammaliern die Unterfläche des Hirn-
stammes, die an die Cisterna pontocerebellaris grenzt, und beim Menschen der Neocortex
auf Höhe der Konvexität der Hemisphären, worauf wir zurückkommen. Die Bildung der
Zisternen ist nach dieser Konzeption ein sekundärer Vorgang, der durch das lokale Ein-
sinken der Gehirnoberfläche hervorgerufen wird. Bei der pathologischen Hirnatrophie
wird dieser Vorgang gesteigert.

1) Bei den Erinaceiden besteht diese Tendenz nicht, wie aus dem Vergleich von rezenten und
f03silen Formen hervorgeht. - Sehr deutlich ist dagegen die Progredienz des Neocortex in der
Pferdereihe (T.EDINGER 1948).
2) Die Vermutung liegt nahe, daß bei der Bildung von Furchen und Windungen allgemein das
Prinzip von Introversion und Promination eine Rolle spielt. Das würde besagen, daß die Stellen,
welche zum Tal geworden sind; im Wachstum zurückgeblieben sind, während diejenigen, die zu
prominenten Kuppen geworden sind, sich in Ausdehnung befunden haben.
138 H.Spatz

Zur Suppression kommt es dann, wenn retrahierte Hirnteile infolge des stärkeren
Wachstums umgebender, späterer Teile verdeckt werden. Bei der Insula sind Retraction
und Suppression aufeinanderfolgende Phasen der Introversion. Andere Hirnteile ver-
harren auf dem Zustand der Retraction, offenbar weil es in ihrer Umgebung keine sich
stärker ausdehnenden Hirnteile gibt. Das gilt z.B. für die erwähnte Unterfläche des
palaeencephalen Hirnstammes. Öfters geht die Introversion (sei es durch Retraction, sei
es durch Suppression) mit einer relativen oder auch absoluten Verkleinerung der betreffen-
den Hirnteile einher (ohne daß lebensnotwendige Gebiete ihre funktionelle Bedeutung
verlieren würden). Zu innerst kommen früheste Hirnteile zu liegen, wie der Hypothalamus
und andere vegetative Zentren des Hirnstammes.
Die Promination ist der Gegensatz zur Introversion. Prominent sind jeweils späte Hirn-
teile, deren Oberfläche frei vorragt, d. h. weder an ein Liquorkissen grenzt, noch von
anderen Hirnteilen bedeckt wird. Hirnteile, die bei früheren Formen prominierten, ver-
fallen bei späteren Formen der Introversion, während dann andere Teile prominent wer-
den 1). So prominiert z. B. bei den Insectivoren und auch noch bei Tupaiiden und Prosi-
miern das Palaeocerebellum. Bei den Affen wird dieses zunehmend introvertiert, während
das Neocerebellum zu prominieren beginnt (Abb. 1).

Impression und Endocranialausguß


Im adulten Zustand berühren die prominenten Hirnteile - das ist von großer Bedeu-
tung - die Arachnoidea und gelangen dann meist in Kontakt mit der Endocranialwand.
Hiermit stehen wir vor dem Vorgang der Impression, welcher die Promination zur Voraus-
setzung hat. Die Impression kommt dadurch zustande, daß prominente Hirnteile (nicht
allenfalls nur Windungen) bei den höheren Wirbeltieren (Vögeln und Säugern), vermutlich
infolge desWachstumsdruckes, die Fähigkeit erlangen können, sich durch Arachnoidea und
Dura hindurch an der Endocranialwand abzuformen. Die Dura ist an solchen Stellen rela-
tiv dünn. Die introvertierten Hirnteile dagegen haben den Kontakt mit der Endocranial-
wand - durch Retraction 2 ) oder Suppression - verloren und damit die Fähigkeit zur
Impression eingebüßt. Die Dura ist in diesem Fall relativ dick. Das Negativ der Impres-
sionen wird durch den EndocraniaI-Ausguß in das Positiv des äußeren Hirnreliefs zurück-
verwandelt. Der Ausguß hat bekanntlich, auf fossile Tiere und fossile Hominiden ange-
wandt, zur Wissenschaft der Palaeoneurologie geführt; infolge seiner Fähigkeit zur
Impression an der Endocranialwand ist das Gehirn das einzige Weichorgan, über dessen
Oberfläche die Palaeontologie Aussagen machen kann, lange nachdem das Organ selber
zugrunde gegangen ist (T.EDINGER). Für uns ist der Endocranialausguß deshalb besonders
wichtig, weil er das genannte Wechselspiel zwischen der Introversion von jeweils früheren
und der Promination von jeweils späteren Hirnteilen auch bei rezenten Geschöpfen
widerspiegelt. Das Vorhandensein der Impression ist ein Merkmal jeweils späterer Hirn-

1) Es dürfte nicht wahrscheinlich sein, daß introvertierte Hirnteile später wieder prominent
werden können. Ursprünglich mögen die Anlagen aller Hirnteile oberflächlich gelegen sein.
') Es gibt, wie z. B. bei Gorilla und anderen Großtieren, eine "totale Retraction " mit fast
völligem Fehlen der Impressionsfähigkeit. Solche Sonderfälle erfordern eine besondere Inter-
pretation, auf die hier nicht eingegangen werden kann. Auf die Flachheit der vorderen und
mittleren Schädelgrube bei Gorilla sei mit Hinsicht auf den "Basalen Neocortex" aufmerksam
gemacht.
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 139

teile. Das Fehlen der Impression, infolge Retraction oder Suppression, weist meist darauf-
hin, daß es sich bei den betreffenden Hirnteilen um inder Entwicklung vorausgeeilte, also
frühere handelt. Es sieht so aus, als ob sich prominente und impressionsfähige Hirnteile
aktiv, introvertierte passiv verhalten. Das ist eine gut gestützte Hypothese.
Kurz zusammengefaßt, ergibt sich folgende Konzeption: Frühe Hirnteile, die ursprüng-
lich an der Außenseite lagen, werden nach innen verlagert, also introvertiert, während
jeweils spätere Teile prominieren. Nur die letzteren können die Fähigkeit zur Impression
besitzen, während die früheren Hirnteile diese Fähigkeit infolge Introversion (sei es durch
Retraction, sei es durch Suppression) nicht haben. Dies veranschaulicht das unten ste-
hende Diagramm.
Frühere Hirnteile Spätere Hirnteile
1. INTROVERSION H. PROMINATION
(= Internation)
1. Retraction
2. Suppression }
keine Impression Impression

Unser besonderes Interesse gilt demjenigen Abschnitt des Neocortex, der sich in Phylo-
genie und Ontogenie am spätesten entfaltet und der beim Menschen konstant impressions-
fähig ist. Dies ist der bisher wenig beachtete "Neocortex basalis" im Bereich der vorderen
und mittleren Schädelgrube.

Die Einführung einiger neuer Termini hat sich für eine kurze Verständigung unerläßlich
erwiesen. In der englischen Sprache würde Promination etwa "exposure", Suppression "overlap"
entsprechen.

Einige Beispiele zur Erläuterung


(Abb. 1). Wir folgen, trotz gewisser Einwände, der auf Phylogenie und Ontogenie beru-
henden Einteilung von L.EDINGER(1911). Demgemäß unterscheiden wir zwischen dem früh-
eren Palaeocerebellum (Vermis + Flocculus) einerseits und dem erst bei den Mammaliern
8ich hinzugesellenden Neocerebellum (Hemisphären) andererseits. In der Ontogenie des Men-
schen erweist es sich, daß die palaeocerebellaren Teile früher in die heterochrone Myelo-
genese (FLEOHSIG) eintreten als die neocerebellaren Teile, was ich bestätigen kann. Die
Figuren der Abb. 1 sind der Phylogenie der Primaten entnommen, und zwar handelt es
sich um Endocranialausgüsse( !). Die Lage des Vermis, als Prototyp des Palaeocerebellum,
wird durch Pfeil bezeichnet.
Bei der lissencephalen Tupaia glis (la) prominiert der stark ausgebildete Wurm; einzelne
Lobuli werden durch Impression hervorgehoben. Der Flocculus kommt ganz außen zum
Vorschein. Die neocerebellaren Hemisphären sind kleiner als der Wurm. Bei dem
madagassischen Propithecu8 diadema (b) sind die neocerebellaren Hemisphären größer
geworden; sie prominieren aber nicht so stark wie der Vermis. Zu beachten ist außerdem,
daß sich der Neocortex der Konvexität sehr deutlich imprimiert (beim Menschen wird er
die Fähigkeit zur Impression durch Retraction weitgehend verlieren). Nach Übersprin-
gung vieler Stufen zeigen wir (auf gleiche Größe gebracht) den Endocranialausguß des
Gib bon Symphalangu8 (c). J et~t sind die neocerebellaren Hemisphären erheblich größer
geworden und prominieren deutlich. Zwischen ihnen befindet sich eine Einsenkung; hier
liegt der kleiner gewordene palaeocerebellare Vermis. Es ist retrahiert. Nun wieder ein
140 H.Spatz

Abb. 1. Palaeocerebellum - Neocerebellum

Sprung: der Endocranialausguß vom fossilen Homo rhodesiensis (d). Auch hier sieht man
(trotz des Schädel defektes) einen durch Pfeil bezeichneten ziemlich breiten Zwischenraum
zwischen den ausgedehnten Hemisphären. Er entspricht der Lage des retrahierten Vermis.
Dieser Befund ist schon BOULE aufgefallen beim Neandertaler von La Chapelle aux
Saints. Wir haben ihn auch bei weiteren fossilen Hominiden wiedergefunden. Man sollte
immer darauf achten. Beim Homo sapiens (e) sind die neocerebellaren Kleinhirnhemi-
sphären nochmals größer geworden. Der Zwischenraum zwischen ihnen hat sich nun zu
einem Spalt verengt!). Die Untersuchung des Kleinhirns selber lehrt, daß der palaeocere-

1) Eine gewisse individuelle Variationsbreite ist zu berücksichtigen. Nur beim Menschen liegt
in dem Spalt die Crista occipitalis interna.
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 141

bellare Wurm fast ganz supprimiert ist; dadurch hat er die Fähigkeit zur Impression ein-
gebüßt. Zu beachten ist außerdem, daß die Konvexität der Großhirnrinde des Homo
sapiens fast glatt ist. Darauf kommen wir zurück.
Abb. 1 zeigt also, daß der Vergleich des Endocranialausgusses in einer aufsteigenden
Reihe der Primaten das Wechselspiel zwischen der Introversion früherer Kleinhirnteile
und der Promination späterer wiedergibt.

Vom Hirnstamm nnd vom optischen System


(Abb. 2). Der Hirnstamm gehört zum weitaus größten Teil zum Palaeencephalon von
L. EDINGER. Seine ventrale Oberfläche grenzt an die Cisterna ponto-cerebellaris und ist
retrahiert. Eine Sonderstellung nimmt der Pons ein. Wie aus Phylogenie und Ontogenie
hervorgeht, ist dieser ein später Anteil und gehört zum Neencephalon. Damit stimmt
überein, daß die Oberfläche der Brücke prominiert. Doch obwohl sie nahe an die Arach-
noidea der Zisterne heranreicht, kommt es doch nur ausnahmsweise zur Impression des
Pons (eine solche Ausnahme findet sich beim Pferd).
An der dorsalen Oberfläche des Hirnstammes liegt im Bereich des Mesencephalon in der
Vierhügelplatte das frühe, subcorticale Zentrum des optischen Systems, nämlich das
Tectum opticum. Dieses erlangt bekanntlich bei niederen Wirbeltieren dauernd eine
erstaunliche Ausdehnung (die anfänglich sogar zur Verwechslung mit den Großhirn-
hemisphären geführt hatte). Bei den adulten Mammaliern tritt das Tectum opticum, von
wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, zurück, während jetzt die corticale Station des optischen
Systems, die Sehrinde, auftritt. Doch in einer Phase der Ontogenie bei frühen mensch-
lichen Embryonen prominiert das Mittelhirndach (MD) und erinnert, wie schon TIEDE-
MANN wußte, an den Dauerzustand bei niederen Wirbeltieren. Dies ist also ein altes Bei-
spiel des Prinzips der Parallelität von Phylogenie und Ontogenie. Abb. 2a demonstriert
die hochgradige Promination des durch Pfeil bezeichneten, das Tecturh opticum enthal-
tenden Mittelhirndaches (MD) bei einem menschlichen Embryo von 27 mm (nach HOCH-
STETTER). Abb. 2b soll daran erinnern, wie tief das kleingewordene Mittelhirndach beim
Erwachsenen supprimiert ist.
Die höchste Station des optischen Systems, die früh myelinisierte Sehrinde (Area 17),
die zu den neocorticalen Primärgebieten (KUHLENBECK) gehört, ist bei den Insectivoren,

Abb. 2. Mittelhirndach (MD).a Gehirnmodell eines menschlichen Embryos von 27 mm auf dem
MedianBchnitt nach F. HocHsTETTER Ha 3. b Das gleiche beim Erwachsenen.
142 H.Spatz

einschließlich der makroptischen Macroscelididen, noch sehr klein und liegt - was wir
hervorheben - noch völlig frei an der äußeren Oberfläche der Hemisphären (vgl. Abb.
279 A in POLYAKS "Vertebrate Visual System"). Schon bei Tupaia ist die nun erheblich
größer gewordene Sehrinde teilweise über die Mantelkante hinweg in die Fissura intel'-
hemisphael'ica supprimiert worden und kommt an die Medianseite des Occipitallappens
zu liegen. Dieser Vorgang schreitet in der Reihe der Primaten fort, während sich das
spätere Feld 19, das mit differenzierteren Funktionen betraut ist, größtenteils an der
äußeren Oberfläche ausbreitet. Beim Menschen liegt bekanntlich nur mehr ein kleiner
Anteil des Feldes 17 an der Außenseite des Occipitalpols; der Hauptteil ist von außen
nicht sichtbar, ist also supprimiert (Abb. 2b).
Unter den Insectivoren fanden wir (STEPHAN u. SPATZ) nur bei den tagaktiven makrop-
tischen Macroscelididen ausgesprochene Promination und neuerdings auch Impression (!)
des großen Tectum opticum. Bei den primitiveren mikroptischen Insectivoren (Igel, Maul-
wurf, u. a.) ist das viel kleinere Tectum opticum supprimiert. Dies ist eine Bestätigung für
die Angaben von T. EDINGER (1964) und STARCK (1963), daß "exposure" bzw. "Freiliegen"
- wir sagen "Promination" - des Tectum mesencephali bei den Mammaliern keineswegs
immer ein Zeichen einer niedrigeren Evolutionsstufe ist und daß, ,overla p", also, ,Suppres-
sion", nicht immer ein Zeichen einer höheren Stufe darstellt. In unserem Fall steht die
Suppression des Tectum opticum der mikroptischen Insectivoren offenbar mit der gerin-
geren Ausbildung des Sehvermögens dieser Tiere im Zusammenhang. Bei den Macrosceli-
diden mit ihrem prominenten Tectum opticum ist es umgekehrt.
Ein Pendant zur primären Sehrinde ist die früh myelinisierte, primäre Hörrinde. Diese
ist im Bereich des Gyrus transversus des Temporallappens in die Fissura Sylvii suppri-
miert. Das sekundäre akustische Gebiet des Gyrus temporalis superior ist beim Menschen
konstant retrahiert, wie der Endocranialausguß lehrt. Die mehr basal liegenden, spät
myelinisierten Schläfenlappenwindungen, die zum Basalen Neocortex gehören, impri-
mieren sich dagegen besonders gut.

Vom Archicortex und vom limhischen System

(Abb. 3a und b). Um etwas über die Phylogenie des Archicortex aussagen zu können,
müssen wir bis zu den Reptilien zurückgehen. Auf Abb. 3 (abgeändert nach L. EDINGER)
sehen wir, daß bei der Riesenschlange Python (a) der Archicortex noch teilweise an der
Außenseite der Hemisphäre freiliegt. Die kleine Anlage des Neocortex befindet sich hier
noch völlig an der Außenseite. Bei einem Marsupialier, der Kängeruhratte (b) hat sich die
Anlage des Neocortex sowohl nach basal als in Richtung auf die Fissura interhemisphae-
rica ausgedehnt (s. Pfeile). Hierbei sind frühe Rindenanteile über die Mantelkante hinweg
in der Reihenfolge ihrer Entstehung in die Fissura interhemisphaerica supprimiert wor-
den. Zutiefst liegt hier der zusammengerollte Archicortex. Ihm ist ein neocorticales
Primärgebiet (I) gefolgt, nämlich das "spleniale Segment" nach der Segmentlehre von
eHR. JAKOB (vgl. Abb. 24 dieses Autors). Das darauf folgende "ektomarginale Segment"
(II) ist zum Teil supprimiert, zum Teil liegt es noch an der Außenseite.
Das spIe ni ale (oder viscerale) Segment des Neocortex und der Archicortex sind beide
Abschnitte des großen "limbisehen Systems". Dieses mit elementaren, autonomen Funk-
tionen betraute, frühe System ist bei den Mammaliern in seiner ganzen Ausdehnung
supprimiert( !).
Gehirnentwieklung und Endoeranialausguß 143

a
Archicorlex

RIESENSCHLANGE

KÄNGURUHRATTE

c
Neocortex

':'~lli~~f'-V:pRssuro
;.; rhinolis
poloeo- neocorticolis

Pafaeocortex

Jget

Abb. 3. a und b Suppression des Arehieortex und früher Segmente des Neoeortex (I und II).
e Igelgroßhirn von der linken Seite; vergrößert. J = 1nsula; 17 = Area striata.

Von der Insula und vom Palaeocortex

(Abb. 3c und 4). Die Insel ist bei den Insectivoren ein bemerkenswert ausgedehntes
Gebiet, das z. B. beim Igel (Abb. 3c) bis zum oralen Pol der Hemisphären reicht und frei
an der Außenseite liegt, also prominiert. Unmittelbar ventral davon breitet sich, durch die
Fissura palaeo-neocorticalis (rhinalis) geschieden, der teilweise zum Rhinencephalon
gehörige Palaeocortex aus, der mehr als die Hälfte der Hemisphäre des Igels ausmacht, also
größer ist als der Neocortex. Erst von den eigentlichen Primaten an wird die Insel, gleich-
zeitig mit der Ausbildung der (den Tupaiiden noch fehlenden) Fissura Sylvii und im Zu-
sammenhang mit der "Hemisphaerenrotation" um die Insel als Achse (JAKOB, SPATZ 1949),
zunehmend in den Grund der Fissura Sylvii supprimiert. Die sogenannte "Operculari-
sation" der Insel ist ein Sonderfall der Suppression. Während man früher an eine Beziehung
144 H.Spatz

Anfang
5. Monats
)nsu{a Traet. offact.
Ang.gyr.
offa cf. lat . Subst.
perf. ant.

Corp. mam· t,--:---=:::~~.~ Gyr. semi/.

Gyr: ambo

G.Retzius Anfang
9. Monats
1,6cm

Abb. 4. Insula. Rhinencephalon.


Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 145

der Insel zur SpracheI), also zu einer ausgesprochenen humanen Leistung dachte, erwägte
schon KLEIST eine Beteiligung an den Geschmacksleistungen. Neuerdings hat die Zuord-
nung des Geschmacks zur Insula durch die Experimente von AKERT u. Mitarb. eine
exakte Stütze erhalten. Die von Anfang an bestehenden, engen topographischen Bezie-
hungen zwischen der Insel und dem Rhinencephalon werden dadurch begreiflich. Auf die
gleichzeitige Suppression des Palaeocortex kommen wir auf S. 146 unten zurück.
Während der Ontogenie kommt es zuerst zu einem Einsinken (Retraction) der noch
glatten Oberfläche des Inselareals. Dies ist auf der Abb. 4a (CORNING) zu sehen bei einem
Fetus vom Anfang des 5. Monats. (lhnlich ist die Abb. 394 von CLARA, die einen Fetus aus
dem 6.Monat betrifft.) Offenbar zeigt die Retraction an, daß das Wachstum der Insel
hinter dem der umgebenden Operkularwindungen zurückgeblieben ist. Dann folgt zuneh-
mend die Verdeckung, also Suppression, der jetzt in Gyrifikation befindlichen Insel. Dies
demonstriert Abb. 4 b bei einem Fetus vom 9. Monat (nach RETZIUS, Tafel XX, 2). Bei der
Entwicklung der Insel sind also Retraction und Suppression zeitlich aufeinanderfolgende
Phasen der Introversion (S. 138).
Die Abb. 4a und 4b zeigen wieder die topographischen Beziehungen zwischen der
Insel und dem Rhinencephalon über den Tractus olfactorius lateralis. Abb. 4a läßt die
überraschend große Ausdehnung und überblickbarkeit des fetalen Rhinencephalon (im
Gegensatz zu dem des Erwachsenen) gut erkennen. Beim Erwachsenen sind die Zentren der
beiden elementaren Sinne, also des Geruchs und des Geschmacks, tief supprimiert. Der breite
Abstand, der im fetalen Zustand zwischen dem vorderen Rand des Temporallappens und
dem hinteren Rand des Orbitalhirns klafft, ist dann völlig verschwunden. Infolge der
Hemisphärenrotation bedeckt der Temporalpol dann sogar hintere Anteile des Orbital-
lappens.
Bei Abb. 4 bfällt uns auf, daß der in der Entwicklung zurückgebliebene Basale Neocortex
noch fast glatt ist, während der übrige Neocortex bereits in die Phase der Gyrifizierung
eingetreten ist (s. S. 146).

Zur Phylogenie und Ontogenie des Basalen Neocortex

(Abb. 3c u. 5). Der lange Zeit kaum beachtete "Basale Neocortex" (SPATZ)2) ist phylo-
genetisch und ontogenetisch der späteste Teil der Neurinde. Beim Igel (Abb. 3c nach
BRODMANN) und den meisten mikroptischen Insectivoren ist der Neocortex auf die Kon-
vexität der Hemisphäre beschränkt, wo sich sein Ursprung befand (s. Abb. 3a). Der Neo-
cortex des Igels, der sich im wesentlichen noch aus Primärgebieten (KUHLENBECK) zusam-
mensetzt, liegt wie eine Kappe dem Palaeocortex auf, der die größere Hälfte der Hemi-
sphäre ausmacht. Auch die Grenzfurche, die Fissura palaeo-neocorticalis (= F. rhinalis),
liegt oben (Abb. 3c). Wenn man das Igelhirn von der Basis betrachtet, so hat man nur
Palaeocortex vor sich. Ein "Basaler Neocortex" existiert noch nicht.
Abb. 5 (nach SPATZ u. STEPHAN) zeigt, wie sich mit der progredienten Ausdehnung des
Neocortex auf die Basis der Hemisphäre zunehmend derjenige Hirnteil ausbildet, den wir

1) FLECHSIG hat 1896 (S. 25 u. S. 43) die Insel wegen des späten Zeitpunktes der Myeologenese
zu seinen "Assoziationszentren" (Terminalgebieten) gerechnet und Beziehungen zur Sprache
angenommen. Dies hat heute woW' nur mehr historisches Interesse.
2) Meine ursprüngliche Bezeichnung "Basale Rinde" (1937) wurde, da sie zu Verwechslungen
mit dem Palaeocortex Anlaß gab, durch die Benennung "Basaler Neocortex" ersetzt.

10 HasslerjStephan: Forebrain-Evolution
146 H.Spatz

a Rhynchocyon b Tupaia c Ga/ago

Abb.5. Basaler Neocortex: schraffiert. Palaeocortex: hell. F.p.n. = Fissura palaeo-neocorticalis


(= rhinalis); T.olf. = Tuberculum olfactorium; F.Sylv. = Fissura Sylvii.

"Basalen Neocortex" nennen (schraffiert). Bei dem makroptischen Insectivor Rhynchocyon


stuhlmanni (a) befindet sich der Basale Neocortex noch ganz im Beginn; er ist ein schmales
lokales Segment außerhalb des ausgedehnten Palaeocortex. Bei Tupaia glis (b) ist er größer
geworden und bildet nun eine zusammenhängende Randzone. Bei dem lissencephalen
Prosimier Galago demidovii (c) ist ein deutlicher Fortschritt erreicht: Der Basale Neocortex
ist erheblich größer geworden und die Grenzfurche, d.i. die Fissura palaeo-neocorticalis
(F. p.-n.) wurde dabei nach basal und medial verschoben. Außerdem wird der Basale
Neocortex jetzt durch die Ausbildung der bei den Tupaiiden noch fehlenden (!) Fissura
Sylvii in einen frontalen und einen temporalen Abschnitt zerlegt. Dieses wichtige Merk-
mal kehrt bei allen rezenten und auch bei fossilen Primaten wieder. Die fortschreitende
Zunahme des Basalen Neocortex in der Reihe der Primaten kann hier nicht dargestellt
werden. Weitaus die hächste Stufe wird beim Menschen erreicht.
Auch in der Ontogenie erweist sich der Basale Neocortex als Spätling in der Entwick-
lung. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen bei frühen menschlichen Embryonen führten zu
der Feststellung, daß sich die Anlage des Neocortex noch nicht auf die Basis der Hemi-
sphären ausgebreitet hat; der Palaeocortex ist entsprechend weiter ausgedehnt. Die hetero-
chrone Myelogenese tritt sowohl im frontalen als im temporalen Abschnitt des Basalen
Neocortex auffällig spät in Erscheinung und auch bei der Windungsbildung bleiben die
bei den Abschnitte zurück, wie Abb. 4 b (S. 144) gezeigt hat.
Abb. 5 illustriert ferner, wie gleichzeitig mit der Ausdehnung des Basalen Neocortex der
Palaeocortex successiv kleiner wird. Dies kann man auch bei der zunehmenden Rückbil-
dung des wohl charakterisierten, bei den Insectivoren sehr großen Tuberculum olfacto-
rium (Abb. 5, T. olf.) verfolgen. Bei der vergleichenden Untersuchung des Endocranial-
ausgusses erwies sich, daß bei Rhynchocyon eine sehr deutliche Impression stattfindet, bei
Tupaia ist sie schwächer; bei Galago und in der ganzen Reihe der eigentlichen Primaten,
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 147

mit Ausnahme von Daubentonia, fehlt die Impression des Tuberculum völlig. Dieses ist
mit zunehmender Verkleinerung introvertiert, nämlich zuerst retrahiert und dann suppri-
miert. Beim Menschen findet sich nur ein winziger Rest im Bereich der Substantia
perforata anterior ganz in der Tiefe.

Vom Basalen Neocortex der Hominiden bei Betrachtung des Endocranialausgusses

(Abb. 6). Abb. 1 führte zu dem Ergebnis, daß der Endocranialausguß das Wechselspiel
zwischen der Introversion des Palaeocerebellum und der Promination des Neocerebellum
widerspiegelt. Wir kommen jetzt abschließend zum Endocranialausguß des Großhirns des
Homo sapiens recens mit Hinweisen auf einige fossile Hominiden. Es geht wesentlich um
die Frage, welche Teile des Menschenhirns imprimieren sich und welche imprimieren sich
nicht?
Die Impressiones gyrorum der Großhirnrinde haben zwar beim Menschen eine erheb-
liche individuelle Variationsbreite, aber es gibt zwei die Verteilung betreffende Tatsachen,
die - normale Bedingungen vorausgesetzt - konstant sind:
1. Auf der Höhe der Innenseite des Schädeldaches (Calvaria, Kalotte) finden sich keine
Impressionen. Dies hat SMITH AGREDA an 400 eröffneten Schädeln von erwachsenen
Menschen festgestellt. Dementsprechend ist der Endocranialausguß von oben gesehen
(norma verticalis) normalerweise glatt (abgesehen von Abformungen der Duragefäße, der
PACCHIONlschen Granulationen und von einem Grenzgebiet zur Basis). Das ist deswegen
so bemerkenswert, weil bei den Ungulaten und Carnivoren sowie auch bei vielen Primaten
(s. z.B. Abb.lc) gerade der Neocortex der Konvexität durch besonders gute Impressions-
fähigkeit ausgezeichnet ist. Das Fehlen der Impression beim Menschen auf der Höhe der
Kalotte erklärt sich dadurch, daß die diesbezüglichen Windungen der Konvexität des
Neocortex, welche die früh myelinisierten neocorticalen Primärgebiete der Motorik und
der Sensibilität enthalten, beim Menschen durch ein zisternenartiges Liquorkissen von der

Abb. 6. a Endocranialausguß vom Homo sapiens. b Endocranialausguß vom Homo rhodesiensis.

10'
148 H.Spatz

Arachnoidea geschieden werden. Sie sind retrahiert. Dies entspricht eben ihrer frühen Ent-
stehung. Die Dura ist relativ dick.
2. Im schroffen Gegensatz hierzu finden sich beim Menschen konstant die stärksten
Impressionen basal, im Bereich der vorderen und mittleren Schädelgrube. Hier ist die
Dura relativ dünn. Der Endocranialausguß (Abb. 6a) zeigt die deutlichen Impressionen,
die den Windungen des frontalen (Fr.) und des temporalen (T) Abschnitts des Basalen
Neocortex entsprechen. Früher hat man einmal daran gedacht, daß sich diese Hirnteile
infolge ihrer Schwere am Schädelgrund abformen sollen. Doch wie wäre damit zu erklären,
daß bei so vielen Tieren die Impressionen, wie oben gesagt, gerade an der Innenseite der
Kalotte und nicht an der Basis so deutlich hervortreten?
Bei der Betrachtung des menschlichen Endocranialausgusses von der Seite ist festzustellen, daß
im Bereich des Übergangs von der Basis zur Konvexität seichte Impressionen von mehr variabler
Verteilung vorkommen. Bevorzugt sind die Frontal- und Occipitalpole, der caudale Gyrus
frontalis inferior mit dem BRocAschen Gebiet (im weiteren Sinne) und die Windungen des Lo-
bulus parietalis inferior. Dagegen imprimiert sich, wie gesagt, nicht der Gyrus temporalis supe-
rior im Bereich der Cisterna fissurae Sylvii.
Wenn man die Basalansicht des Endocranialausgusses in Abb. 6a näher betrachtet,
stellt man fest, daß es neben den hochgradigen Impressionen, welche durch die Windungen
beider Abschnitte des Basalen Neocortex hervorgerufen werden, auch Hirnregionen gibt,
die keine Impressionen verursachen. Das ist einmal die erwähnte Unterseite des palaeence-
phalen Hirnstammes (x), welche im Bereich der Cisterna pontocerebellaris retrahiert ist.
Sodann ist ein mit xx bezeichnetes Gebiet im Bereich der Cisterna chiasmatis konstant
retrahiert und deshalb nicht impressionsfähig. Hier befinden sich der Tractus olfactorius
und caudale Abschnitte des Orbitalhirns (xx). Aus neueren architektonischen Unter-
suchungen von SANIDES geht hervor, daß die letzteren in Beziehung stehen zum basalen
olfactorischen Cortex. Auch KLEIST hatte auf diese Relationen hingewiesen. Die Dura ist
hier wieder dick im Gegensatz zur dünnen Dura über den benachbarten, sich stark impri-
mierenden vorderen zwei Drittel des Orbitalhirns. Wenn man weiterhin an die suppri-
mierten Teile, wie Palaeocortex, Insel u.a. denkt, so zeigt sich, daß alles, was introvertiert
ist, durch die frühe Entstehung gekennzeichnet ist. Diese introvertierten Hirnteile
kontrastieren mit dem sich so deutlich imprimierenden Basalen Neocortex, der spätester
Anteil der Neurinde ist.
Der Endocranialausguß gestattet auch bei fossilen Hominiden gewisse AussagenI) über
die äußere Gestalt der längst vergangenen Gehirne zu machen. Abb. 6b zeigt den Endo-
cranialausguß von dem relativ gut erhaltenen Schädel des Homo rhodesiensis. Besonders
fällt die Schmalheit des temporalen Anteils des Basalen Neocortex auf (vgl. mit Abb. 6a),
was bereits von K.B.SCHULTZ festgestellt worden ist. Bei einigen anderen fossilen Homini-
den (aber nicht beim Neandertaler) hat sich uns dieser bemerkenswerte Befund bestätigt.
Der Vergleich von Abb. 6b mit Abb. 6a ergibt ferner, daß auch der frontale Anteil des
Basalen Neocortex (das Orbitalhirn ) offenbar noch nicht voll a usge bildet gewesen ist. (Vom
rezenten Homo sapiens standen 40 Endocranialausgüsse zum Vergleich zur Verfügung.)
Bei den Ausgüssen der Kalotte des Pithecanthropus erectus I (DUBOIS), des Düsseldorfer
Neandertalers, sowie auch einiger Vertreter der Sinanthropus-Gruppe ist schon früher aufgefallen,
daß sich die frontalen Impressionen ungewöhnlich weit scheitelwärts erstrecken. Doch läßt sich
dieser Befund nicht verallgemeinern (CONOLLY, OVERHAGE). Weiteres über den Endocranialausguß
f03siler Hominiden s. bei ARIENS KAPPERS, STARCK (1965) U.a.

1) Auf die weitgehenden Versuche einer Zuordnung (z. B. die Sprache betreffend) früherer
Autoren wird hier nicht eingegangen.
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 149

Von der Bedeutung des Basalen Neocortex für den


Menschen

Der "Neocortex basalis" ist in Phylogenie und in Ontogenie ein besonders später,
prominenter Anteil der neocorticalen Secundärgebiete. Sein frontaler und sein temporaler
Abschnitt sind, im Gegensatz zum Palaeocortex und zum Neocortex der Konvexität, durch
ihre konstante hochgradige Impression ausgezeichnet.
Lange Zeit hat der Basale Neocortex in der Lehre von der Zuordnung von Funktionen
zu einzelnen Hirnteilen (sogenannte "Lokalisationslehre") als "stumme" Region gegol-
ten. Erst 1934 wurde durch KLEIST!) auf Grund von Beobachtungen bei Hirnverletzten
die allgemeine Aufmerksamkeit wenigstens auf den frontalen Anteil des Basalen Neo-
cortex, d.i. auf das "Orbitalhirn", hingelenkt. Spätere Untersuchungen, die sich teilweise
auch auf Tumoren und lokale Atrophien (PIcKsche Krankheit) bezogen, stammen u. a.
von BOSTROEM u. SPATZ, Duus, GRÜNTHAL, HEYGSTER, SPATZ (1937), WALCH U. WELTE.
Ein wichtiges Ergebnis dieser Untersuchungen ist, daß bei Patienten mit doppelseitiger
Läsion des Orbitalhirns, wenigstens am Anfang, keine Störungen der formalen Intelligenz
(einschließlich der Merkfähigkeit, der Auffassung und der Rechenfähigkeit) nachweisbar
sind 2). Das Wesentliche ist vielmehr (auch nach eigenen klinischen Beobachtungen) eine
Veränderu,ng des Charakters 3). Diese macht sich initial öfters 'durch eine Störung des
Taktgefühls und durch andere Abweichungen im Verhalten gegenüber den Mitmenschen
bemerkbar. Später ist das Syndrom der "Persönlichkeitsstörung" (personality change)
mehr oder weniger offenkundig und oft mit einem Verlust der ethischen Hemmungen ver-
bunden. KRETSCHMER spricht von einer Störung der "sphärischen Integrierung" und der
"dynamischen Steuerung". Ich wiederhole meinen Satz: "Hier wird der Mensch in seinem
innersten Kern getroffen."
Wenn wir vom frontalen Abschnitt des Basalen Neocortex bzw. vom Orbitalhirn sprechen, so
denken wir an die vorderen Zweidrittel desselben, d.i. an das Gebiet, welches durch die starke
Impressionsfähigkeit ausgezeichnet ist, und nicht an das hintere Drittel, das retrahiert ist
(Abb. 6a, xx) und zum Palaeocortex in Beziehung steht.

Als temporalen Abschnitt des Basalen Neocortex bezeichnen wir das Ge biet des Temporal-
lappens, welches mit dem frontalen Abschnitt zusammen ursprünglich eine einheitliche
Zone gebildet hat (Abb. 5 b bei Tupaia) und welches ebenso wie der frontale Abschnitt
phylo- und ontogenetisch sich spät entwickelt sowie sich hochgradig imprimiert. Von den
klinischen Folgen doppelseitiger Läsionen dieses temporalen Abschnittes des Basalen Neo-
cortex ist noch wenig bekannt. Auf Grund von einigen Feststellungen bei den seltenen
Fällen von reiner Temporallappenatrophie (auf dem Boden der PICKschen Krankheit)
neige ich zu der Annahme, daß solche Läsionen ebenfalls Persönlichkeitsstörungen hervor-
rufen können (LUERS u. SPATZ, JAKOB).
Befunde der Pathologie haben also neuerdings zu dem bemerkenswerten Ergebnis
geführt, daß durch lokale Läsionen des Basalen Neocortex (d. i. besonders seines frontalen

1) Ältere Arbeiten von WELT (1888) und BERGER (1923) waren in Vergessenheit geraten.
2) Begreiflicherweise fehlen auch die motorischen und sensiblen Paresen, die bekanntlich bei
Läsionen der betreffenden Zentren an der Konvexität des Neocortex auftreten.
3) SCHOPENHAUER, ein guter Kenner des neurologischen Schrifttums seiner Zeit, vertrat noch
die Meinung, d'1ß Störungen -des Charakters, im Gegensatz zu solchen des Intellekts, nicht von
Veränderungen des Gehirns abhängig seien.
150 H.Spatz

Abschnittes) höchste, spezifisch humane Vermögen gestört werden. Der Basale Neocortex
ist hiernach keine stumme Hirnregion; im Gegenteil, er ist vom anthropologischen Stand-
punkt aus gesehen bedeutungsvoll. Dies scheint gut damit übereinzustimmen, daß der
Basale Neocortex ein besonders später Hirnteil ist, der erst beim Homo sapiens seine
höchste Ausbildung erreicht hat.
Es erhebt sich die Frage: Hat die biologische Evolution des Basalen Neocortex, die bei
bestimmten fossilen Hominiden noch im Gange war, heute etwa ihren Höhepunkt er-
reicht, oder ist hier in Zukunft ein weiterer Fortgang der Evolution im Sinne der Hypo-
these EcoNoMos von der "progressiven Neocorticalisation" denkbar? Auf diese Frage,
mit der ich mich wiederholt beschäftigt habe (SPATZ, 1955, 1961, 1964, 1965), kann hier
nicht eingegangen werden.

Summary

According to the principle of heterochronicity in the development of different cerebral


divisions, which is valid ~n phylogeny as weIl as in ontogeny, "earlier" and "later" parts of
the brain can be distinguished.
Another principle, which so far has not received due attention, implies that in phylogeny
and in ontogeny earlier parts, originally lying freely on the surface of the brain, are
gradually removed from the surface towards the interior of the organ, as its development
advances. We have characterized this process as "introversion". Here we distinguish:
(1) "retraction", if the cerebral surface withdraws from the arachnoid (formation of
cisternae) without being covered by other parts of the brain, and (2) "suppression", if the
retracted part is subsequently overlapped by adjacent "later" and more intensively
growing parts. The insula is first "retracted" and subsequently "suppressed".
"Introversion" is contrasted with "promination". "Prominent" are such exposed parts
of the brain which are "later" in phylogeny and ontogeny. In the adult state in mammals
such parts are able to impress themselves through the arachnoid and dura mater into the
endocranial wall (due to their "growth-pressure"). Earlier introverted parts have lost this
faculty. The endocranial cast reflects the play of "introversion" and "promination".

Earlier (accelerated) parts of the brain Later (retarded) parts of the brain
I. INTROVERSION H. PROMINATION
(= Internation)

1. Retraction }
No impression Impression
2. Suppression

Attention is called particulary to the "basal neo cortex" of the frontal and temporal
lobes, as a prominent part of the cortex with a constant faculty of impression. Its highest
stage of evolution in the primate series is reached in man. It represents a particularly
late cerebral region, both in phylogeny and in ontogeny. Pathology has furnished
evidence that it is responsible for the performance of higher faculties of human
personality.
Gehirnentwicklung und Endocranialausguß 151

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Pickseher Krankheit und bei gedeckten STARCK, D.: "Freiliegen des Tectum mesence-
Hirnverletzungen. Z. ges. Neurol. 158 (1937), phali" ein Kennzeichen des primitivenSäuger-
208-232. gehirns ? Zool. Anz. 171 (1963), 350-359.
SPATZ, H.: Gegensätzlichkeit und Verknüpfung STARCK, D.: Die Neencephalisatiün (Die Evo-
bei der Entwicklung von Zwischenhirn und lution zum Menschenhirn). Menschl. Ab-
"basaler Rinde". Allg. Z. Psychiat. 125 stammungslehre. Fischer. Stuttgart 1965.
(1949), 166-177. STEPHAN,H. ,H. SPATZ: Gehirne afrikanis<'herIn-
SPATZ, H.: Menschwerdung und Gehirnent- sectivoren. Morphol. Jb.103 (1962),108-174.
wicklung. Nachr. Giessener Hochschulges. 20 TIEDEMANN, F.: Anatomie und Bildungsge-
(1952), 32-55. schichte im Foetus des Menschen nebst einer
SPATZ, H.: Gehirn und Endocranium. Homo 5 vergleichenden Darstellung des Hirnbaues in
(1954), 49-52. den Thieren. Steinische Buchhandl. Nürn-
SPATZ, H_: Die Evolution des Menschenhirns berg 1816.
und ihre Bedeutung für die Sonderstellung VERSLUYS, J.: Hirngröße und hormonales Ge-
des Menschen. Nachr. Giessener Hoch- schehen bei der Menschwerdung. Maudrich.
schulges. 24 (1955), 52-74. Wien 1939.
SPATZ, H.: Gedanken über die Zukunft des WALCH, R.: Orbitalhirn und Charakter. In:
Menschenhirns. In: Benz, E., Der Über- Rehwald, E., Das Hirntrauma, S. 203-213.
mensch, S. 319-383, Rhein-Verlag. Zürich Thieme, Stuttgart 1956.
1961. WELT, L.: Über Charakterveränderungen des
SPATZ, H.: Über die Anatomie, Entwicklung Menschen infolge Läsionen des Stirnhirns.
und Pathologie des "basalen Neocortex" . Dtsch. Arch. klin. Med. 42 (1888), 339-404.
Acta med. belg. (1962), 766-779. WELTE, E.: Über die Zusammenhänge zwischen
SPATZ, H.: Der basale Neocortex und seine anatomischem Befund und klinischem Bild
Bedeutung für den Menschen. Ber. Phys. nach stumpfem Schädeltrauma. Arch. Psy-
Med. Ges. Würzburg, 71 (1964), 7-17. chiat. 179 (1948), 234-315.

Prof. Dr. H. SPATZ


Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung
Neuroanatomische Abteilung
Deutschordenstraße 46
6 Frankfurt-Niederrad, Deutschland
588

THE MEANING OF "POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL


PARALLELISM"
BY

HARTW1G KUHLENBECK
(From the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.)

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OUR consciousness, on the basis of reasonable inferences from corrobor-
ated evidence, may be considered a function of the brain. The brain, in
turn, may be regarded as an object, consisting of matter. The material
substratum of the functioning brain is in a labile chemical and physical
condition, characterized as the living state, which, however, may still be
interpreted as a purely material state.
Although consciousness would thus appear to be the function of a
material substratum, all hypotheses aimed at deriving consciousness from
material processes, or at conceiving consciousness in terms of material
events have been unsuccessful.
In view of these consistent failures, it is evidently of fundamental
theoretical importance to clarify the indispensable logical basis, as well as
the intrinsic limitations of any attempt to solve the "brain-consciousness
problem."
The limitations of any such attempt are very definite. Reverting to the
old saw "no matter, never mind," it becomes obvious that, since con-
ceptual matter, or physical events, are abstractions from conscious
experience, and thus, as mental symbols, remain manifestations of con-
sciousness, any attempt to derive consciousness from physical processes
amounts to the circulns vitiosus of denning or explaining consciousness
in terms of itself.
Again, it becomes likewise obvious that the physicist, in his attempts to
formulate or to define a physical world, merely defines, in terms of
consciousness, abstractions derived from (conscious) percepts. Such
abstractions, although of undeniable significance, logical consistency, and
operational validity, may be characterized as fictions. A fiction, in the
aspect under consideration, is the assumption of a logically possible thing
as a fact, but with the knowledge that this assumed fact remains a mere
presupposition, representing an arbitrary symbol or notation with
possible operational validity, or in other words, a model encoding signi-
ficant relationships. We may thus, by the use of appropriate and logically
"POSTULATTONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 589

consistent fictions, and in essential agreement with Vaihinger's concepts


(1911), formulate propositions of the following type: "it is as if . . ."
Because of the intrinsic impossibility to derive consciousness from
physical processes, some authors (e.g. Coghill, according to C. J. Herrick,
1956) claim that mentation is not a function in the ordinary physiologic
sense. Contingent on how "function in the ordinary physiologic sense"
is defined, this claim can be upheld or denied. It can be upheld in so far
as mentation, i.e. consciousness cannot be causally derived from postulated
physical, i.e. physiologic processes in public physical space-time. It
can be denied since there is sufficient conclusive evidence to assume that
consciousness, in the manner of a dependent variable, is related to that
what can be logically described as physical (physiologic) neural events in
the brain, and in this respect represents a function of these latter events.

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I would thus agree with Herrick (I.e.) that mentation is a vital process, and
that as such it should be regarded as a "bodily function."
In a rather lengthy disquistion (Confinia Neurologica 17, Suppl., 1957),
I have recently attempted to discuss the relationship of brain and consci-
ousness from the epistemological as well as from the neurological aspect,
and to integrate both aspects into a unified presentation.
The resulting formulation shows, in some respects, a certain analogy
with the principle of complementarity obtaining in contemporary physics,
and elaborated by Bohr (1928). Complementarity in this denotation, and
perhaps in a somewhat wider sense, refers to a duality, or possible even to
a multiplicity in regard to the relation of experience and theoretical
(conceptual) formulation.
Paraphrasing a statement by de Broglie (1947, 1955), complementarity
may also be expressed as follows: A single actuality, involving the relation-
ships manifested in conscious experience, can be conceptually represented
under two aspects which, at first sight, appear incompatible, although
truly never entering in direct conflict. When one of these aspects is
asserted, the other vanishes, or at least disappears to an extent just
sufficient always to avoid a flagrant contradiction. This complementarity,
again, involves a principle of correspondence, likewise formulated by
Bohr. In the wider sense, this latter principle postulates a significant
relationship between the "laws," that is the orderliness, obtaining in both
conceptual aspects.
Thus, on the basis of the only data available to us as sentient beings,
I have interpreted the actually experienced world of consciousness (the
phenomenal world) as a relation-structure of consciousness-modalities in
terms of strict Berkeleian idealism.
On the other hand, since, despite the fleeting, jerky, and discontinuous
character of consciousness, consistent continuous orderliness prevails, it
appears justified to infer and assume the validity of significant persistent
relationships independent of consciousness. Consequently, logical systems
590 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

may be formulated, which deal with pertinent aspects of conscious


experience in accordance with postulated fictional relationships independ-
ent of consciousness. Such systems, expressed in terms of spatio-temporal
events (in public physical space-time) presumed to occur while they are
not perceived, represent the foundation of physics and chemistry, as well
as of biological and other natural sciences. In the logical notation of such
systems, I have interpreted the problem of brain and consciousness (here
better : brain and behaviour presumably correlated with consciousness)
in terms of strict mechanism.
The designation mechanism or, more specifically, mechanistic neuro-
physiology is here meant to imply that all neural events, including those
presumably correlated with consciousness, could exhaustively be described
or defined in terms of physics, chemistry, and mathematics (circuit algebra,

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communication theory). Moreover, it is postulated that all neural events,
including those presumably correlated with consciousness, and, in a wider
sense, all aspects of observable animal or human behaviour could, in
principle, be modelled or imitated by machines. In other words, any
activity that we can specify exactly, in terms of the behaviour to be
expected in given circumstances, can in principle be met by an artifact.
By a simple logical process any such precisely defined behaviour can be
coded into the description of at least one mechanism that will model it
(MacKay, 1954). Conversely, models built on the principles of communi-
cation and control engineering can be regarded as significantly
contributing to an advanced understanding of neural functions.
In order to avoid misunderstandings, it should be emphasized that this
description, definition, or modelling of neural events, as far as it concerns
neural events presumably correlated with consciousness, eliminates
consciousness as an observable state of an observed material structure,
although presupposing consciousness of the observer. Such presumptive
phenomena of consciousness must remain unobservable, since they cannot
occur in the private perceptual space-time system of the observer, nor, ex
hypothesi, in the conceptual public physical space-time of the adopted
logical system. It is thus by no means implied that artifacts, mechanical
or electronic brains, and robots, are conscious. On the contrary, it is
much more likely that, because of complex hierarchic configurational or
gestalt properties, the neural activities correlated with phenomena of
consciousness can only be performed by circuits which have all the still
incompletely understood attributes of living substance. This latter, in
turn, requires specific time and environmental factors for its evolution,
and is bound to specific patterns of orderliness, among which are also
included relations of magnitude with respect to other structures of the
space system. The neural events correlated with consciousness phenomena
may have unknown but perhaps potentially definable intrinsic gestalt
attributes which engineering models built of hardware cannot manifest.
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM 591

Yet, there is no way whatsoever to disprove or to prove, in strictly rigorous


fashion, whether machines are or are not conscious. An amusing as well
as instructive series of highly relevant and clever arguments on this subject
can be found in "The Book of the Machines," which is a treatise included
(as Chapters 23-25) in Samuel Butler's Erewhon (1872, 1901).
Our philosophical or scientific argumentation, modelling an orderliness
independent of consciousness, but related to our given conscious experi-
ences, that is the logical system here under consideration or, in other words,
our assumed universe of discourse (Boole, 1854), implies consciousness,
namely the consciousness of the reasoner. It is thus not possible, within
this universe of discourse, to substitute a conscious observer (or conscious
reasoner) by an unconscious registering device (or computing device, or
both), and we must clearly distinguish between observation and registra-

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tion. Such a device, be it ever so complex, is not an observer or reasoner
in the terminology of our argumentation. All data, either raw or already
mathematically processed (computed or coded), obtained by such devices,
remain entirely devoid of meaning until properly expressed, or assumed to
be so expressed, in the symbolism of the logical system implying conscious-
ness, that is, until significantly experienced by the observer or reasoner.
Moreover, such a device represents an intricate and reasoned artifact,
implying purpose, and thus consciousness of the designer and user.
It is here of particular import to eliminate ambiguities with regard to the
concepts "real" and "reality"; these terms were clearly defined by
Schopenhauer. Adapting a more recent, but essentially identical
definition by Bertrand Russell (1948), "real" and "reality" will be used with
two distinct denotations: (1) a thing is real when it persists or exists at
times when it is not perceived (reality in the first sense); (2) a thing is real
when it is correlated with other things in a way which experience has led
us to expect (reality in the second sense).
We may now revert to the rather vague but nevertheless useful term
matter, which evidently has various different denotations and connotations.
The well localized, spatially configurated modalities of consciousness,
including many of their reciprocal relationships, are rather easily although
not accurately or rigorously symbolized and identified by the concepts of
objects, matter, and material events. However, all these experienced
material processes represent percepts, occur in private perceptual space-
time, and are thus mental. Yet, we might designate such objects or
processes as perceptual matter. Nevertheless, some such material
processes are poorly localized and not spatially configurated, e.g. odours
and sounds. No definite demarcation can be drawn between such
perceptual material processes and the poorly localized, spatially not con-
figurated consciousness-modalities represented by vague feelings, emotions
and thoughts, i.e. by mind sensu strictiori.
We postulate now that, independent of our consciousness, and in a
592 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

persistent pubhc physical space-time, configurated events take place,


which are, at least in certain respects, topologically similar to our experi-
enced perceptual material processes in private perceptual space-time.
These postulated events in public physical space-time represent conceptual
matter, that is the physical world. These conceptual physicalisms remain
nevertheless mental abstracta, or "illata" in positivistic terminology.
Whitehead (1948) claims that each event has a character of its own
which is analysable into two components: first, there are the objects
situated in that event; and second, there is "the field of activity of the
event which regulates the transference of the objects situated in it to
situations in subsequent events. It is essential to grasp the distinction
between an object and an event. An object is some entity which we can
recognize, and meet again; an event passes and is gone". I deny the

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validity of this distinction. An object is a recognizable pattern of percepts
in perceptual space-time, and such recognizable pattern is an event which
"passes and is gone". At most, we can and do, in everyday speech, use
the expression "object" for relatively stable patterns of spatially configur-
ated public data. In the assumed physical space-time, there are no objects,
only conceptual events, some of which can be conceived as magnitudes.
If these magnitudes are regarded as "objects," then they become hypo-
statized, and we have here a /ierajWt? et? dx\o yivos. Bertrand
Russell (1945) emphasizes that in contemporary physics distance is
between events, not between things, and involves time as well as space;
thus, in modern physics, there is no action at a distance.
The postulated physical events, inferred on the basis of observed, i.e.
experienced mental events (percepts), may be assumed to consist of
movable magnitudes and magnitudes of motions. Some of these events
may be assumed to have properties definable as mass (i.e. be ponderable),
and others may be assumed to have properties definable as energy, the
two being convertible into each other. Again, some of the postulated
events may be assumed to have properties definable in terms of field effects.
It is obvious that the difference between mass and energy is an important
basic distinction and there is no inconvenience in speaking of mass and
energy instead of matter and energy. Matter is the more vague term,
which might be qualified as matter sensu latiori (physicalisms), and matter
sensu strictiori ("ponderable matter", mass). Loosely speaking, one is
inclined to use the word matter in either connotation.
Eliminating the so-called secondary qualities, a four-dimensional
physical world based upon the primary qualities is thus postulated; it is
assumed, ex hypothesi, that this physical world is real in the first sense, and
moreover, by definition, stripped of all attributes of consciousness.
It seems evident, however, that this assumed "physical reality", based
upon the concept of a physical space-time system, is a fiction. Conscious-
ness, which represents the only set of data given to us as sentient, perceiving,
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 593

thinking and emotional beings, is a fleeting phenomenon with many jerky


manifestations, often instantaneously changing in the manner of step-
functions, and characterized as an individual, private perceptual space-
time system which completely disappears and reappears. Consciousness
or mind sensu complete is thus light or dark, purple, green or red, etc.,
odorous, hard, soft, heavy or light, warm, cold, loud or silent, pleasant or
unpleasant, and at times cogitating. It consists of spatially configurated
events (shapes) or of amorphous masses, of patterns, feelings, emotions or
thoughts—these latter, although vaguely localized, have some of the
intangible shadowy aspects characteristic e.g. for odours. All these
phenomena fill out or comprise a transitory ameboid individual
perceptual space-time system. These data are thus not real in the first
sense according to the postulated premiss.

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Since significant orderliness seems to persist independently of any
percepts in the widest sense, that is independently of, or without conscious-
ness, we may postulate, as stated above, an independent reality in the first
sense. The assumption of what some authors choose to call a dichotomy
between consciousness (mind) and reality is thus, I believe, self-evident and
unavoidable.
However, this reality, being independent or devoid of the attributes of
consciousness, could not be defined in terms of consciousness-modalities.
It would be neither coloured, nor light, nor dark, nor loud, nor silent, nor
pleasant, nor unpleasant, nor painful etc. In other words, we could only
express it in terms of extreme abstractness. We have so far eliminated
all the so-called secondary qualities, and we might then believe that we
could, ex hypothesi, express reality in terms of orderly events involving
the primary qualities. But this belief is a delusion: the primary qualities
are merely abstract notions of perceptual space-time relationships, and
perceptual space-time, in turn, represents the substratum of consciousness.
It follows that we can only express reality by the ultimate abstraction of
an orderliness x. Whatever persists beyond consciousness must thus be
regarded as inexpressible, undefinable and unknowable. Even the very word
"persists" becomes meaningless, since reality, beyond the domain of
space-time relationships, cannot be conceived in any temporal term such
as duration or "events." This reality x, devoid of any expressible
particularity, cannot be brought in meaningful relation to particular events
in consciousness.
David Hume (1748), in his Essay XII, of the Academic or Sceptical
Philosophy, clearly recognized the cogency of the argument denying the
intrinsic difference between secondary and primary qualities. The
relevant passage in Hume's Essay states: " 'Tis universally allowed by
modern enquirers, that all the sensible qualities of objects, such as hard,
soft, hot, cold, white, black, etc., are merely secondary and exist not in the
objects themselves, but are perceptions of the mind, without any external
594 HARTW1G KUHLENBECK

archetype or model which they represent. If this be allowed, with regard


to secondary qualities, it must also follow with regard to the supposed
primary qualities of extension and solidity; nor can the latter be any more
entitled to that denomination than the former. The idea of extension is
entirely acquired from the senses of sight and feeling; and if all the
qualities, perceived by the senses, be in the mind not in the object, the same
conclusion must reach the idea of extension, which is wholly dependent on
the sensible ideas or the ideas of secondary qualities."
Whitehead (1948) justly remarks that this argumentation may have been
one of the various reasonings of Hume that influenced Kant. Further-
more, seen from another viewpoint, Hume's argumentation is perfectly
consistent with George Berkeley's fundamental views.
Moreover, Whitehead (I.e.) takes up the same argument, yet without

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consistently following it through to its unavoidable conclusion. Whitehead
quotes Hume's statement and adds that, since space and time cannot be
disjoined "not only must perceived space, but also perceived time, be
considered as mental and purely personal to each individual. But we have
agreed that all our knowledge is based on experience. We are thus led to
the conclusion that all our knowledge is the play of our own mind.
Indeed, on this supposition, it is a mere silly trick which leads me to speak
in the plural, and I cannot imagine how I acquired the habit. For I have
no source of information to give me news of anything beyond myself.
The space-time of science is thus absolutely swept away."
Whitehead then repudiates the idealistic view with a series of cryptic
arguments: "My own position is that consciousness is a factor within fact
and involves its knowledge. Thus apprehended nature is involved in our
consciousness. But in its exhibition of its character our consciousness
exhibits its significance of factors of facts beyond itself."
Reverting to the legitimate and in fact inescapable conclusion that "the
space-time of science" (i.e. the public physical space-time) "is absolutely
swept away," I deny that it is "a mere silly trick" to assume other
sentient beings, allegedly because "I have no source of information to give
me news of anything beyond myself." The legitimate source of informa-
tion is the principle of sufficient reason, which justifies, as I shall attempt
to show below, the assumption of other similar sentient beings, or
consciousness-manifolds. Again, we may assume that our consciousness-
manifolds are manifestations of a consistent orderliness. This means, in
other words, that our world is rational (Whittaker, 1948). Or we may
assume that consistent orderliness does not obtain, and that our world is
irrational. But then, it could not be modelled in rational thoughts, and
we should give up any such attempt. Assuming that our world is rational,
we must presuppose the consistent validity of the relationship "if . . . then
. . . " which is a concise formulation or definition of the principle of
sufficient reason, which, again, implies the principles of identity and con-
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 595

tradiction, as well as the possibility of induction. Without the principle


of sufficient reason, science is impossible.
Now, as regards Whitehead's further statements, it seems justifiable to
say that "our consciousness exhibits its significance of factors of facts
beyond itself", but this statement cannot logically imply anything more
than the independent existence of an unqualifiable orderliness x represent-
ing reality. In so far as relationships between different consciousness-
manifolds are involved, the significance of factors of facts beyond any one
consciousness-manifold could be said to correspond to the orderliness
expressed by the concept of public data, which I have discussed in my
monograph (K., 1957).
We may also formulate the two theoretically basic problems, first that
of the existence of other sentient beings, and second that of the reality x,

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as follows:
(1) A consciousness-manifold, which shall be designated as my con-
sciousness-manifold, has its centre of reference in localized and spatially
configurated consciousness-modalities representing my body including my
brain. It appears logically permissible to assume that similar consciousness-
manifolds, characterized by their individual space-time systems are, under
similar functional conditions, similarly related to similar other bodies and
brains which I experience as extraneous to my own body and brain. In
other words, and following the principle of sufficient reason, I define
inferred other consciousness, not my own, in terms of my own
consciousness.
(2) It appears to me, however, highly illogical, and inconsistent with
the principle of sufficient reason, to qualify and define a reality which, by
definition, is assumed to exist when there is no consciousness, in terms of
consciousness. If such a reality exists, it is, by definition, not conscious-
ness. But when there is no consciousness, and since consciousness cannot
be conceived as anything else that the manifestation of some of its essential
properties, it is illogical to attribute any of these same essential properties
to a reality which is not consciousness.
As regards these problems, we are obviously in a difficult predicament,
from which, on purely logical grounds, there seems to be no escape
whatsoever. This predicament may be succinctly expressed as the brain
paradox, based on Schopenhauer's formulation: our phenomenal world
of consciousness is a brain phenomenon, but the brain itself, as we know
it, is a phenomenon of consciousness; or, in shorter form: consciousness
is a brain phenomenon, but the brain itself is a brain phenomenon.
For practical purposes, both the neurologist and the physicist, who deal
with fundamental concepts concerning the structure of our world, must
assume a physical reality in the second sense. Einstein (1934) has justly
remarked that since "sense perception only gives information of this
external world or of 'physical reality' indirectly, we can only grasp the
596 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

latter by speculative means. It follows from this fact that our notions of
physical reality can never be final."
Planck (1931) has formulated two so-called fundamental canons of
natural philosophy as follows:
(1) There is a real outer world which exists independently of our act of
knowing.
(2) The real outer world is not directly knowable.
My own formulation (K., 1957) is slightly different and can be con-
densed in the following two sentences:
(1) There is a real orderliness x independent of (my or our) consciousness.
(2) This independent reality is both transcendental and transcendent.
It remains therefore unknowable.

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I believe that the first of these statements can be proved as far as "my
consciousness" is concerned, if I accept the principle of sufficient reason,
that is, if I admit at all the possibility of proof. The necessary assumption
of the real orderliness x rests upon the fact that, despite disruption in and
discontinuity of my consciousness, continuous orderliness prevails. Again,
following the principle of sufficient reason, I may infer that other similar
consciousness-manifolds exist, and thus, although strict or dogmatic
solipsism cannot be disproved (nor proved) by rigorous proof, such
solipsism seems less reasonable than the assumption of other sentient
beings, and contradicts the principle of specification: entium varietates non
temere esse minuendas. This principle is the converse of Occam's
(Ockham's) razor.
Now, as regards the second statement, the qualification transcendental,
used in Kant's strict sense, simply means that the orderliness x is intelligible
(or in other words apprehensible by thought) as a necessary condition
without which the orderliness of consciousness would be impossible. The
qualification transcendent means that the orderliness x, stripped of all
attributes of consciousness, is propertyless and qualityless. It is therefore
beyond the substratum of our senses (mind sensu latiori) and of our
thoughts (mind sensu strictiori). One might thus say that the orderliness
x would be nothing at all, were it not intelligible as abstract transcendental
orderliness. We might also use the term transcendent as synonymous
with metaphysical. Beyond the necessary assumption of the real order-
liness x there is no way whatsoever to qualify this ultimate abstraction and
all the efforts of metaphysicians to obtain knowledge of reality must be
considered intrinsically vain. Since, however, the orderliness x can be
apprehended as necessary by thought, it can also be apprehended as a
feeling or emotion, that is by affectivity. This approach to reality is that
of the mystic. Although this approach has its justification, its domain
remains, in my opinion, almost entirely outside the domain of rational
scientific thought. Moreover, I believe that the mystics are erroneous in
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 597

claiming direct and emotionally qualifiable apprehension of the orderliness


x. Mysticism, at best, can give a relatively valid emotional interpretation
of the world of consciousness with respect to the orderliness x, but not
of that orderliness itself, which has neither logically nor emotionally
expressible qualities, properties, or particularities.
It can thus be seen that we are compelled to use the terms to "be" or to
"exist" with two fundamentally different denotations, namely as essentially
qualifiable, expressible, knowable phenomenal existence, and as intrin-
sically non-qualifiable, unknowable metaphysical existence.
In the ordinary sense, only phenomenal existence can have any meaning
for us as sentient beings. The verbs to be or to exist simply denote here
the occurrence of an event in private perceptual space-time: esse est per dpi,
et per dpi est esse. An event occurs when it is perceived; conversely, when

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an event is perceived, it occurs. We can, of course, imagine an unper-
ceived event as occurring or having occurred, but then we "perceive" it as
modelled by occurring thoughts.
Clearly, a thought exists only while it is conceived, i.e. "perceived" as
a thought. Again, logical and mathematical existence can be defined as
a special form of thought-existence, namely a thought-existence free of
contradiction, or thought-existence sensu stridiori. Thought-existence
per se (or sensu latiori) does by no means imply freedom from contradic-
tion. Boole's laws of thought (1854) obviously refer to thought sensu
stridiori.
To state that "there are multiplication sums which no one will ever have
worked out" (Russell, 1945) means merely that we are creating, in thoughts,
abstract, undetermined multiplication sums involving less abstract, i.e.
more concrete possibilities which, as we suppose, will never be actualized
in, or created by, thoughts. These multiplication sums have as much or
as little existence as unspecified children that, in our imagination, could be
born next year, but will not be born. To attribute any other "real"
existence to such sums or such children is, in my opinion, an illegitimate
hypostatization.
It should moreover be stressed that purpose, affectivity (emotion), and
axiologic value are very significant aspects of thought as well as, generally
speaking, of our world of consciousness. But these aspects, which I have
discussed in my monograph (1957), are not included in the topic here under
consideration.
Because the metaphysical reality x remains inexpressible for a sentient
being such as man, the fictitious concept of public physical space-time and
of physical events must be considered a convenient logical and mathemati-
cal notation for a description and interpretation of postulated events
occurring independently of consciousness but expressible in the symbolism
of consciousness. Postulational psycho-physical parallelism may accord-
ingly provide a useful working hypothesis correlating, not by a causal, but
BRAIN—VOL. LXXXI 42
598 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

by a logical transposition, the orderliness obtaining in the assumed physical


world with the orderly sequence of the events in consciousness.
Ashby (1956), using the lately reintroduced designation "cybernetics,"
has recently elaborated an interesting theory of transformations which can
be applied to a discussion of the referred logical transposition. Adapting
the concepts of R-events and N-events, as denned in my monograph
(1957), to Ashby's terminology, we have a set of operands, namely the
R-events, transformed by an operator, namely the neurosensory mechan-
isms. The R-events, representing physical events, are thus changed, in
this sense by a closed transformation (which creates no new element), into
N-events (i.e. other physical events). In another sense, since the N-events,
as coded signals, differ from the R-events, the transformation can, of
course, also be denned as open, but this, again, depends on how we define

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the operands. After a series of closed transformations by the neural
mechanisms, which represent in this respect a true transducer, namely a
machine with input, we have, at a certain level, another type of transition,
namely an essentially two-valued transformation. One of these trans-
formations remains closed in the adopted sense. The other transforma-
tion is open, creating a new element, namely events in perceptual space-
time, that is conscious events. The parameter of the closed transforma-
tions is public physical space-time, the parameter of the open transforma-
tion is private perceptual space-time.
In abbreviated as well as oversimplified form, and adapting Ashby's
procedure, the transformations could be expressed by a matrix in the
following manner:

Tx
Ty P* P 3 P .
where r signifies R-event, n stands for N-event, and P denotes the parallel
event of consciousness. T designates the transformation; T's subscript x
represents the parameter "physical space-time," and the subscript y stands
for the parameter "perceptual space-time". There are, of course, a
number of successive transformations Tx, such as Txu Txj . . . etc.
Adapting Ashby's method of kinematic graphs of transformations, we
could also use the form
n n r
rx—*• ni—*• ni—•• i-—*• i " - —*• -

i
Pi
This kinematic graph as well as the preceding matrix represent, of course,
crude oversimplifications, merely meant to model a particular aspect of the
problem under discussion.
Concerning parallelism, it must be emphasized that the "transforma-
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 599

tion" or "transition" from physical N-events to parallel events of con-


sciousness is a purely logical transformation, not involving interaction.
Since physical events and mental events occur in different space-time
systems which have no dimensions in common, no path, course, direction,
trajectory, velocity or motion could lead, in a given time, from one system
into the other. The transformation (if this term is used) is therefore
instantaneous, or rather, does not involve distance and time at all. There
is thus no causal connection between the two series of events, since the con-
cept of causal relationship, as defined by Schopenhauer and adopted in my
monograph, implies interaction, namely changing events involving a given
time, and following the principle of mass-energy conservation. The two
series of events are, strictly speaking, neither spatially parallel nor
temporally simultaneous, although the parallel events of consciousness

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may be conceived "as if" simultaneous with certain still insufficiently
definable cortico-thalamic N-events. Nevertheless, in order to avoid
undue pedantry, we may accept the term "parallel" in the wider sense or
as a figure of speech.
Again, assuming "simultaneity" of parallel consciousness-events and
parallel physical N-events, perceptual time necessarily lags behind the
assumed public physical time, as far as the pattern of experienced R-events
is concerned. We have here, in addition to velocity-differences related to
the R-events concerned (e.g. light and sound), various delays related to
neural processes, such as velocities of conduction and synaptic delays.1
These lags, even with respect to the purely neural processes (i.e. N-events),
may noticeably differ as regards for instance optic, acoustic, and tactile
neural events related to one and the same group of "external events"
(R-events).
Simultaneity in the public physical space-time system has proved to
be an exceedingly difficult problem, which was particularly stressed by
Einstein, who proposed a practical solution based on an arbitrary con-
vention. We cannot fix the time "of an event whose distance from the
clock is not negligible; for there are no 'instantaneous signals' that we can
use in order to compare the time of an event with that of the clock"
1
The relation between sense-experience (consciousness-events in private perceptual
space-time) and the physical as well as physiologic processes (events in public physical
space-time) involved in perception has been recently discussed by J. R. Smythies in his
important contribution "Analysis of Perception" (1956). Smythies justly points out
the salient internal inconsistencies in the ordinary scientific but naive account of
perception. Discounting some differences in terminology, approach and evaluation,
Smythies' argumentation is to a certain extent very similar to my own. This is
particularly significant, since we proceeded along different lines and were entirely
unacquainted with each other's work. I refer specifically to Smythies' Theory I in
which this author states: "We can understand that the Universe may be composed of
a great number of three-dimensional spatial systems (or four-dimensional spatio-
temporal systems) none of which bear any spatial relations to any of the others." This,
again, is also exactly my viewpoint.
600 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

(Einstein, 1945). Questions of simultaneity assume considerable im-


portance, if a value of t must be assigned to two physical systems moving
with respect to each other in some reference system.
Simultaneity with respect to two different perceptual space-time
systems is, depending on the viewpoint, either meaningless or a fictional
practical approximation with considerable uncertainty. It can be ex-
pressed as follows: a pattern of experienced compresent events in the
observer's consciousness may be conceptually related to inferred simul-
taneous parallel N-events in a postulated physical space-time system.
Within that latter system, the parallel physical N-events are causally
related to antecedent other (non-parallel) N-events which, again, are
causally related to antecedent R-events. These R-events, in turn, may be
assumed to be related, mutatis mutandis, and with a corresponding time

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lag, to events in the inferred consciousness-manifold of the observed
sentient being. This latter pattern of events can be regarded, depending
on the circumstances, and with due consideration of the involved probable
conceptual time equations, as an approximately simultaneous transforma-
tion of the pattern experienced by the observer. It is of interest to note
that this simultaneity involves a negative as well as a positive value of t.
In abbreviated and elementary form, where P signifies the perceptual
(parallel) event, ob the observer, os the observed sentient being, t' the
perceptual time, t the physical time, tn the physical time of neural delay,
and R the R-event, this approximate and imaginary simultaneity could be
expressed as follows:
Pob (f)-tnob=R(t)
R (t) +tnos = Pos(t')
now (assuming simultaneous R-events at the neurosensory level), if
tnob=tnos then Pob(t') = Pos(t')-
Temporal continuity of a given neurosensory "machine", pertaining to
a given individual organism in public physical space-time, is provided by
the continuity of a significantly persisting morphologic pattern throughout
all changes of metabolism and turnover of labile histologic elements.
The perennial histologic elements constitute relatively enduring spatio-
temporal patterns. Moreover, engraphy (Semon, 1904; Forel, 1922;
K., 1957) represents here an important factor. In private perceptual
space-time, temporal continuity or identity throughout a succession of
constantly changing patterns, including interruptions by complete dis-
appearance of the entire consciousness-manifold, followed by reappear-
ance, is provided by memory. The concept of parallelism relates memory
phenomena to the activation of engrams. Again, as regards the logical
transposition from physical N-events to parallel events of consciousness,
this transformation might simply be expressed as follows: a certain
discharge-configuration of cortico-thalamic neural circuits in public
physical space-time means (or signifies), say, a panoramic mountain-
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 601

landscape extending, in private perceptual space-time, through my (or


mutatis mutandis someone's) visual field. It is here, moreover, essentially
irrelevant whether this landscape is dreamt, hallucinated, or actually
observed. In all three cases it is "perceived" or it "occurs." The
referred significant configuration or pattern of cortico-thalamic N-events
(presumably involving the occipital cortex) represents, in Ashby's termin-
ology, a transform which does not indicate a unique operand. On the
other hand, the referred cortico-thalamic pattern constitutes itself an
operand which, as regards the open one of its two (or more) transforma-
tions, is itself unique. This could be expressed as follows:
Nx •

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The N-events are here indicated by N. The subscripts, d, h, p specify
three different operands, namely (non-parallel) N-events occurring in
dreams, hallucinations, and normal perception, respectively. It is
assumed that only one of these three patterns of events occurs at one given
time. The subscript v indicates the physical parallel N-events corres-
ponding to the referred mental visual parallel events PV. The arrow with
broken line symbolizes the open (or in Ashby's terminology "unclosed")
transformation. The subscript x indicates the physical N-events to which
the operand N v is changed by closed transformation. Both transforma-
tions of N v are simultaneous. The open transformation (from public
physical space-time to private perceptual space-time) is considered
"instantaneous" and unique. The closed transformation takes place in
physical space-time, is not necessarily single-valued, and involves the
physical time related to conduction velocities and synaptic delays.
In addition to the postulated set of transformations or transitions from
events in fictional public physical space-time to events in private perceptual
space-time, there is, of course, still another, and I believe, almost self-
evident "psycho-psychical" parallelism which can be expressed as follows.
If I deal with, and observe another presumably conscious person, I infer,
from my experiences and my cogitations, another "parallel" private
perceptual four-dimensional space-time manifold which is functionally
related to a limited region of my own private perceptual space-time,
namely to the region manifested by my percepts of the observed person's
head. This inferred perceptual space-time manifold involves another set
of four dimensions, and is extraneous to my own. It evidently cannot be
located in my own space-time manifold. Yet, it "duplicates" or "parallels,"
in transposed form, and in another set of dimensions, many of the
events occurring in my own manifold. Moreover, even if I must regard
the observed person's head as a "black box" (presumably containing a
602 HARTWIG KUHLENBECK

brain), the inferred "parallel" perceptual space-time system depends on


certain states which involve my actual (as well as potential) percepts. In
fact, the observer, if a neurosurgeon or neurologist attending a brain
operation under local anaesthesia, could talk with the observed patient
while perceiving and testing that patient's brain. In this sense, we have
an ill-defined transformation of operands from one perceptual space-time
system into the other. Ignoring the inferred physical events, this trans-
formation could be said to correspond to the formulation
Pob(tO = Pos(tO
discussed above.
Russell (1945), in perhaps justly criticizing various concepts of Bergson,
states that "the brain, which nobody sees, is not, in the ordinary sense, an

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image." I believe, however, that this statement is unjustified. Surely, to
the competent neurologist, the brain, living and dead, is frequently a
percept, directly or indirectly, and through various senses. It is, more-
over, for such neurologist, a very significant complex of concepts or
mental (sensu strictiori) images, which direct, or program, his inferences.
The brain is thus, under such circumstances, very definitely an "image."
As regards the interpretation of the brain paradox with reference to
"my own" or "one's own" brain, the following statement could be made.
My visual percept of a distant panorama is related, in an orderly fashion,
to my visual, tactile, and proprioceptive percepts of my own head, con-
taining a brain which I actually perceive through proprioception by its
weight. Although the detailed image of my brain is conceptual, that brain
could, under very unusual circumstances, become for me a brain perceived
by other senses besides proprioception.
The cited relationship is now such that, if certain conceivable and in
part potentially perceivable events occur within my private perceptual
space-time system, i.e. consciousness-manifold, and with respect to that
brain which is part of the system, then the manifestation or percept of that
distant panorama, or, for that matter, all visual percepts would vanish.
If certain other conceivable and at least in part potentially perceivable
events would take place in my consciousness-manifold and with respect to
my conceptual (or potentially perceivable) brain, then my entire
consciousness-manifold would either temporarily or permanently vanish.
This, of course, is a rather poor sort of formulation, and not particularly
convenient as a basis for scientific knowledge or explanation. But I would
maintain that it is the best we can do on the basis of the idealistic approach
which, although—as I believe—logically unassailable, is poorly suited to the
practical demands of neurologic theory.
To summarize: we may describe our experiences in terms of what we
actually experience, namely in terms of percepts, feelings, thoughts, and
voluntary activity. This, by definition, is consciousness, taken as synony-
mous with mind.
"POSTULATIONAL PSYCHO-PHYSICAL PARALLELISM" 603

Or we may describe our experiences in terms of inferred physical events,


conceived as related, or corresponding, to our experiences, and postulated
to occur independently of being perceived. This, by definition, implies
matter in the physical sense.
Now, if we start with matter, there is no mind, and if we start with mind,
there is no matter. Closer analysis shows that the concept of matter and
physicalisms has an inherent weakness, since it implies, in the last end, the
occurrence of percepts without being perceived, or of experiences that are
not experienced, or, again, of conceivable concepts "existing" without
being conceived; it is, moreover, based on a petitio principii. The concept
of mind is logically stronger, but unsuited for the practical descriptions and
the theories of natural sciences.
We may thus combine the use of the two concepts by a postulate of

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logical psycho-physical parallelism, regarded as an artificial auxiliary
construction. This construction might be called a subterfuge, but, if its
artificial nature "as if" is stressed, and since no attempt at concealment is
made, the term "subterfuge" applies as little to this construction as the term
"He" applies to an avowed fiction. There is, of course, no psycho-
physical parallelism except as a system of thoughts, because there are no
physicalisms, except in our imagination.
REFERENCES
ASHBY, W. R. (1956) "An Introduction to Cybernetics." New York.
BOHR, N. (1928) Nature, Lond., 121, 580.
(1928) Naturwissenschaften, 16, 245.
BOOLE, G. (1854) "An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on which are founded
the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities." New York.
DE BROGUE, L. (1947) "Physique et Microphysique." Paris.
(1955) "Physics and Microphysics." New York.
BUTLER, SAMUEL (1872) "Erewhon." New York.
(1901) "Erewhon Revisited." New York.
EINSTEIN, A. (1934) "The World as I See I t " New York.
(1945) "The Meaning of Relativity." Princeton.
FOREL, A. (1922) "Gehirn und Seele." 13th edition. Leipzig.
HERRICK, C. J. (1956) "The Evolution of Human Nature." Austin.
HUME, D. (1748) "Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding." London.
KUHLENBECK, H. (1957) "Brain and Consciousness. Some Prolegomena to an
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MACKAY, D. M. (1954) Amer. Scient., 42, 261.
PLANCX, M. (1931) "Positivismus und reale Aussenwelt" Leipzig.
RUSSELL, BERTRAND (1945) "A History of Western Philosophy." New York.
(1948) "Human Knowledge. Its Scope and Limits." New York.
SCHOPENHAUER, A. (n.d.) "Sammtliche Werke (1813-1851)," 6 vols. Leipzig.
SEMON, R. (1904) "Die Mneme als erhaltendes Princip im Wechsel des organischen
Geschehens." Leipzig.
SMYTHIES, J. R. (1956) "Analysis of Perception." London.
VAIMNGER, H. (1911) "Die Philosophic des Als-Ob. System der theoretischen,
praktischen und religiosen Fiktionen der Menschheit." Berlin.
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-N tur ie erkenntniskritische Aufgabe des Philoso-
w ssenschaften
D phen ist in unserer Zeit der weitgehenden Spe-
zialisierung aller Wissenschaften schwieriger
geworden: Einmal verlangt man von ihm, in dieser
Hinsicht wichtige Kapitel der Einzelwissenschaften zu
kennen, um mit seinen Denksystemen nicht in der Luft
zu schweben, auf der anderen Seite ist eine solche
Kenntnis mtihsamer und nur unter gr013er werdendem
Zeitaufwand zu gewinnen; in einigen Bereichen, z.B.
der Mathematik und der theoretischen Physik, ist er-
schOpfendes Verst~indnis insoweit unm0glich, als die
erforderliche Zeitspanne in einem Menschenleben zu-
s~itzlich nicht mehr verfiigbar ist. So tiberl~il3t man auf
solchen Gebieten erfolgreichen und verdienstvollen
Fachleuten Aufgaben, die oft ihre F~thigkeit und Kom-
petenz tiberschreiten. Bedeutsame Entdeckungen wer-
den gewOhnlich zun~ichst im engeren Spezialgebiet be-
kannt gegeben und er0rtert. Ihre erkenntnistheoreti-
sche Bedeutung wird meist stufenweise erkannt, und
G6del-Theorem und sie wirken sich in ihrer allgemeinen philosophischen
Tragweite, wenn iiberhaupt, nur mit erheblicher Ver-
Kuhlenbeck-Paradox zOgerung aus. Die hochspezialisierte Leistung Kurt
G0dels fand zwar in seinem Fachbereich, der Mathe-
matik und Metamathematik, bald nach Erscheinen sei-
ner epochalen Arbeit [9] Aufmerksamkeit und Aner-
kennung bei seinen Fachkollegen, jedoch wurde ihre
allgemeine wissenschaftstheoretische und philosophi-
Joachim Gerlach sche Bedeutung erst allm~ihlich erkannt. Dieser Prozel3
Ltitzelbach, Am K~is 1, ist auch heute noch nicht abgeschlossen. In den folgen-
D-6101 Modautal 3 den Ausfiihrungen wird versucht, einen Zusammen-
hang der Erkenntnisse GOdels mit dem bisher weitge-
hend unbeachteten philosophischen System H. Kuh-
lenbecks aufzuzeigen, den dieser Autor bereits 1961 er-
kannt hat: Es besteht eine t~berraschende Analogie
zwischen dem zweiten G0delschen Theorem und dem
von H. Kuhlenbeck analysierten und gekl~irten Ge-
hirn-Paradox, einem Kernsttick seiner ,,Neurologi-
schen Erkenntniskritik".
Nach dem Versuch, den Inhalt der G0delschen Theo-
Kurt G6del's famous paper of 1931 is studied reme allgemeinverst~indlich und ohne besonderen ma-
from the aspect of its epistemological sig- thematischen Aufwand wiederzugeben, wird der Kern
nificance. The important concepts of decidabil- des Kuhlenbeckschen Werkes kurz dargestellt, in dem
ity, "Goedelization", "recursion", and f~-in- eine Verbindung zwischen Philosophie und Neurobio-
compatibility are discussed. The attempt is made logie hergestellt wird. Die Beziehung des G0del-Theo-
to outline the further development of G0del's rems zu Kuhlenbecks Lehre und zum Gehirn-Paradox
ideas in modern mathematics and their connec- wird er0rtert. Zu GOdels Biographie, mit der man sich
tion with the problems of computer science, AI, erst in den letzten Jahren n~ther befafSt hat, vergleiche
and the mechanisms of neuronal networks using [4]. Will man seine Arbeiten in ihrer Bedeutung for die
the concepts of the "Turing-Machine" and algo- Grundlagen der Mathematik und for die Erkenntnis-
rithms. The epistemological importance of theorie beurteilen, so ist m0glichst weitgehendes Ver-
GOdel's work becomes obvious in its bearing on st~indnis unumg~inglich; das ist deshalb schwierig, weil
logical paradoxes. Kuhlenbeck's theory, until sie einen hohen Grad von Abstraktion haben, der
now disregarded, is briefly explained in relation selbst for mathematisch versierte Leser nur mit Miihe
to the GOdel-Theorem. nachvollziehbar ist. Hier dtirfte die Grenze menschli-
chef Abstraktionsf~ihigkeit erreicht sein, an die nicht

Naturwissenschaften 75,393- 398 (1988) 9 Springer-Verlag 1988 393


alle gelangen k6nnen. Auch stehen wir dem Problem ,, GOdelisierung " Rekursion,
der Spezialisierung gegentiber: Volles Verst~indnis for [2- Widerspruchsfreiheit
G6dels Darlegungen ist nur dem mOglich, der tief in
das Gebiet der mathematischen Logik eingedrungen Drei Konzepte GOdels sollten in ihren Grundztigen
ist, d.h. sich lange damit befaBt hat. Es erscheint da- denjenigen bekannt sein, die ein Verstfindnis seiner
her geboten, die Hilfe derjenigen Fachleute in An- Theoreme anstreben: Das erste ist der geniale Kniff
spruch zu nehmen, die sich mit ihrer Erkl~irung, Deu- seiner Methodik, die beiden anderen sind die mathe-
tung und vereinfachten Wiedergabe befaBt haben. matischen Begriffe Rekursion und f]-Widerspruchs-
freiheit.
Dutch GOdels methodisches Vorgehen ist es mOglich
Die Grundbegriffe G6dels geworden, alle Probleme formaler Systeme zu Proble-
men der Zahlentheorie zu machen. In unscharfer, ganz
allgemeinverst~indlicher Form hat Hofstadter [12] den
Entscheidbarkeit Kern der ,,G6delisierung" so ausgedriackt ([12], S.
285): Typographische Regeln fiar die Manipulation
Der Hauptbegriff im Titel von GOdels epochaler Ar- von Zahlzeichen sind in Wirklichkeit arithmetische
beit von 1931 [9], die Entscheidbarkeit, leitet sich aus Regeln ffir das Operieren mit Zahlen, d.h. wir kOnnen
dem noch allgemeineren, der Entscheidung, ab. Ent- das Studium formaler Systeme in die Zahlentheorie
scheidung ist ein Akt menschlichen Verhaltens und fibertragen. Strenger lfilSt sich sagen, dab GOdel 1931
kann als Festlegung auf eine unter mehreren, minde- erstmals effektive Kodierungen formaler Systeme
stens zwei M6glichkeiten definiert werden. G6del be- durch Zahlen eingefiihrt hat, und zwar im ersten Wurf
nutzt die Negation von Entscheidbarkeit mit dem zu- so systematisch, dab das Verfahren mit Recht nach
s/atzlichen Adjektiv ,,formal" und bringt damit zum ihm benannt wird [1].
Ausdruck, dab es sich nur um Entscheidbarkeit in der Die Rekursiviti~t, wie sie 1931 von G6del unter dem
mathematischen Logik handelt. Hilbert und Acker- Konzept der allgemein-rekursiven Funktion aufgefaBt
mann bezeichnen mit Recht das Entscheidungspro- wurde, steht in enger Beziehung zur ,,kt~nstlichen In-
blem als ihr Hauptproblem; sie sprechen vom Ent- telligenz", d.h. zu der Frage, inwieweit zahlentheoreti-
scheidungsproblem des engeren Pr/idikatenkalktils, sche Funktionen von Computern behandelt werden
das gleichbedeutend ist mit den beiden einander/aqui- k6nnen. Church, Kleene und Turing wiesen nach, dab
valenten Problemen der Allgemeingt~ltigkeit und der allgemein rekursive Funktionen eine Klasse computa-
Erft~llbarkeit. Das Schrifttum zum Entscheidungspro- bler Funktionen darstellen, die von Kleene als X-Funk-
blem ist fast uniabersehbar geworden. Heutzutage tionen bezeichnet wurden. Turing beschrieb eine Art
bringt man, im Zusammenhang mit dem Begriff Algo- ,,theoretischen Computer", Turing-Maschine genannt,
rithmus, das E-Problem mit dem Begriff ,,effektiv er- die ftir die mathematische Logik groBe Bedeutung ge-
zeugbar" in Verbindung ([21], S. 272) und benutzt zu- wonnen hat. Sie stellt ein Schlt~sselkonzept dar zur
dem das idealisierte Konzept einer Rechenmaschine. Frage der Grenze von Computerleistungen und des
Es ist von besonderem Interesse, daB hiermit auf Be- Vergleiches yon Gehirn und Computer.
ziehungen des menschlichen Denkverm6gens zur W6rtlich und ganz allgemein bedeutet rekursiv ,,rCtck-
,,kt~nstlichen Intelligenz" (AI) zuriackgegriffen wird, l~tufig" im Unterschied zu ,,reflexiv" -- rtickbezt~glich.
und zwar dadurch, dab ,,Idealisierung der Rechenma- In seinem erw~hnten popul/iren Buch [12] gibt Hof-
schine" und Pr/izisierung des Algorithmusbegriffes als stadter niitzliche Hinweise zur Erleichterung des
gleichwertig gesetzt werden. Demgegentiber ist vorzu- Grundverst~tndnisses yon Rekursion. Er verwendet
ziehen, das Begriffspaar ,,entscheidbar" und ,,unent- dazu Beispiele aus der Ordnung der Gemeinsprachen,
scheidbar" sicherer und einfacher mit der Originaldefi- der Grammatik bzw. der syntaktischen Struktur yon
nition von G6del ([9], S. 174) festzulegen, der es aus solchen Sprachen. Das yon ihm beigezogene ,,Transi-
den Begiffen ,,beweisbar" und ,,unbeweisbar" ableitet: tionsnetzwerk" ist ein Diagramm, das die Vorg/inge
Ein Satz A des Systems PM ist unentscheidbar, wenn der Sinngebung in den Beziehungen zwischen den ver-
weder A noch non-A beweisbar ist. Zum hierbei be- schiedenen Satzteilen erkennen l/iBt, die in der Zeitge-
nutzten Beweisbegriff /iuBert G6del: ,,Insbesondere raden rechts- oder linksl~ufig angeordnet sind. Der
kann man zeigen, dab die Begriffe ,,Formel", ,,Beweis- Vergleich steht in Beziehung zu dem ,,return"-Befehl
figur", ,,beweisbare Formel" innerhalb des Systems in der Programmiertheorie der Computer, der dort
PM definierbar sind, d.h. man kann z.B. eine F(v) aus eine Rekursion ausdrtickt. Hofstadter erl~iutert rekur-
PM mit einer freien Variablen v (vom Typus einer sive Folgen an dem einfachen Beispiel der Fibonacci-
Zahlenfolge) angeben, so dab f(v) inhaltlich interpre- Reihe ([12], S. 147).
tiert besagt: v ist eine beweisbare Formel." Wir k6nnen auch bei der 12-Widerspruchsfreiheit auf

394
allgemeinverst~indliche Erl~iuterungen Hofstadters sage aus." . .... Es wird angenommen, dab die Defini-
([12], S. 241) zurtickgreifen: ,,Ein System ist ~-unvoll- tion von ,,beweisbar" ohne Bezugnahme auf die Be-
standig, wenn alle Ketten einer pyramidalen Familie deutung von Formeln m0glich ist. Man hoffte dabei
S~itze sind, die allquantifizierte zusammenfassende stets, dab die Menge beweisbarer S~itze von L mit L-
Kette aber kein Satz ist." Unter einer ,,pyramidalen S~itzen zusammenfalle, die wahre Aussagen enthalten.
Kette" versteht er eine unbegrenzte Kette von S~ttzen G0dels Theoreme besagen, dab dies nicht der Fall sein
eines Systems, von denen stets der n/ichste aus dem kann."
vorhergehenden entsteht. Genauer sollte hinzugeftigt Nach Rosser ([22], S. 54) stellt GOdels erstes Theorem
werden: [2 ist die erste transfinite Ordinalzahl, repr~i- fest: ,,Ftir geeignete L gibt es unentscheidbare S~itze in
sentiert durch die wohlgeordnete Menge der nattirli- L, d.h. S~itze F derart, dab weder F noch nicht-F ( - F)
chen Ordinalzahlen. in L bewiesen werden k0nnen." G0dels 2. Theorem be-
sagt: ,,Ftir passendes L kann die einfache Konsistenz
von L nicht innerhalb von L bewiesen werden." Be-
Vereinfachte Deutungen grifflich kann die Oberlegung G0dels ohne Benutzung
mathematischer Symbole so gedeutet werden: Wenn
Nehmen wir nun die Hilfe von Spezialisten in An- aus einer Gruppe von Axiomen sowohl ein Satz wie
spruch, die versucht haben, G0dels Ergebnisse einfach auch sein Gegen-Satz abgeleitet werden kann, dann
und allgemeinverst~indlich zu formulieren: Schon 1939 sind die Axiome inkonsistent; wenn die Axiome konsi-
hat B. Rosser die Theoreme von G0del und Church so stent sind, kann aus ihnen weder der Satz noch der Ge-
vorgeftihrt. Er schreibt ([22], S. 53): ,,In den Feststel- gen-Satz aufgezeigt werden, d.h. der Satz ist unent-
lungen yon GOdels Theoremen und dem Theorem von scheidbar. Wir k0nnen tiber die Wahrheit eines Satzes,
Church wollen wir die Wendung benutzen ,,ftir geeig- der zu einem bestimmten System gehOrt, nicht da-
nete L". Die verborgenen Annahmen in dieser Phrase durch entscheiden, dab wir ihn aus den Axiomen sei-
sind bisher nicht dem Durchschnittsleser verst~indlich nes eigenen Systems ableiten, sondern es bedarf dazu
erkl~irt worden. Um sie zu vermeiden, hat man die einer metamathematischen oder metalogischen Argu-
Theoreme ftir spezielle Formen logischer Systeme be- mentation. L~iBt sich dabei ein Satz, der zu einem Sy-
wiesen und bemerkt, dab die Beweise auf andere logi- stem geh0rt, aber nicht aus dessen Axiomen ableitbar
sche Systeme tibertragen werden kOnnen." ,,Jeder Be- ist, als ,,wahr" erweisen, so ist dieses System unvoll-
weis der genannten Theoreme benutzt zwei verschiede- st~ndig, selbst dann, wenn man es durch Hinzuftigen
ne Arten von Logik. Die eine von ihnen ist die Logik dieses Satzes als neues Axiom erweitert. Der metama-
der gewOhnlichen Umgangssprache, in welcher der Be- thematische Satz ,,wenn die Arithmetik konsistent ist,
weis ausgeftihrt wird, die andere ist eine formale Logik dann ist sie unvollst~indig" entspricht, wie sich zeigen
L, mittels derer das jeweilige Theorem bewiesen wird. l~il3t, einer aufweisbaren Formel im arithmetischen Sy-
Die zuerst genannte Logik kann formal oder nicht for- stem, jedoch kann der metamathematische Satz ,,die
mal sein, die Logik L muB unbedingt formal sein. Dies Arithmetik ist konsistent" innerhalb der Arithmetik
bedeutet u.a., dab die S~itze yon L Formeln sind, die nicht bewiesen werden. Daraus folgt der SchluB, dab
nach bestimmten Strukturregeln aufgebaut werden. die Konsistenz der Arithmetik nicht durch irgendeinen
Jede Formel muf5 aus einer endlichen Anzahl (mit metamathematischen SchluB innerhalb des Formalis-
Wiederholungen) von Symbolen bestehen, die aus ei- mus der Arithmetik dargetan werden kann [20].
ner endlichen oder abz~thlbar unendlichen Symbol-
menge ausgew~ihlt werden, die anfangs gegeben ist. In
jeder Formel darf jedes Symbol mehr als einmal ver- PhilosophischeFolgen
wendet werden. Die Symbole haben Bedeutungen, die
zur Deutung der S~itze yon L herangezogen werden. Wenn auch die SchluBfolgerungen GOdels for die Ma-
Die Strukturregeln der S~itze yon L sollen so beschaf- thematik und die symbolische Logik, d.h. ftir die Ma-
fen sein, dab sie deklarative (nicht unbedingt wahre) thematik in einem weiteren Sinne, tiberraschend sein
Aussagen der ,,gewOhnlichen Sprache" werden. Ist A mOgen, so ist doch ihr Kerngedanke keineswegs neu.
ein Satz yon L und eine bestimmte Aussage die Deu- In den weit weniger formalisierten, doch bei weitem
tung von A, dann soil A ,,der Ausdruck jener Aussage inhaltsreicheren und wichtigeren philosophischen
in L" oder irgendeiner anderen, ihr ~quivalenten sein. Schltissen von Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer und Vai-
Ganz allgemein gesprochen k/3nnen nicht alle Aussa- hinger wurden deutliche Grenzen des menschlichen
gen in L ausgedrtickt werden. Unter den Symbolen DenkvermOgens und unentscheidbare S~itze, z.B.
von L muB eines ( - ) sein, das als ,,nicht" gedeutet Kants Antinomien, schltissig nachgewiesen. Solche
wird. Dies bedeutet: Wenn A in L eine bestimmte Aus- Schltisse ergaben sich aus tiberzeugenden f3berlegun-
sage ausdrtickt, drtickt - A das Gegenteil dieser Aus- gen nach dem Satz vom zureichenden Grunde. Hume

395
und Schopenhauer haben gezeigt, dab dieser Satz lo- niskritischen Folgerungen zum Gehirn-Bewul3tsein-
gisch nicht bewiesen werden kann, obwohl er selbst die bzw. Geist-Materie-Problem haben: Es gibt keinerlei
Grundlage jeden Beweises bildet [16]. Beziehungen, soweit GOdels Theoreme im engeren Sin-
G0del bemiihte sich um ein Verst~tndnis der philosophi- ne, d.h. rein logisch-mathematisch betrachtet werden;
schen Grundlagen der Mathematik und richtete anfangs denn diese besch~iftigen sich mit den Spielregeln ab-
seine Aufmerksamkeit auf Leibniz und Kant, dessen strakter logischer Systeme, von denen Whiteheads und
Anschauungen iiber Raum und Zeit in ihrer Bedeutung B. Russells Principia Mathematica [27] und verwandte
far Einsteins Relativit~itstheorie ihn zu einer Beschafti- Konstruktionen sogar im Titel von GOdels beriihmtem
gung mit der theoretischen Physik, besonders intensiv Aufsatz unmittelbar angesprochen sind. Die Frage
mit der Continuum-Hypothese, ftihrte. Seit etwa 1950 nach der Beziehung von Gehirn und Bewul3tsein ge-
hoffte er, Hilfe im Studium von Husserls Ph~inomeno- hOrt in die Neurobiologie und in die Erkenntniskritik,
logie zu finden. Das Interesse an Husserl blieb bis zu sei- genau gesagt zu einem Grenzgebiet beider, das Berger
nem Lebensende bestehen. In seinem letzten Lebensab- schon 1921 als ,,neurologische Psychophysiologie" be-
schnitt bemtihte sich G0del, eine eigene Philosophie zu zeichnet hat.
entwickeln, in der offenbar die Continuum-Hypothese In seiner Bursfelder Universit~itsrede hat O. Creutz-
eine Rolle spielen sollte. Dieser Versuch scheiterte, und feldt [3] einen Versuch unternommen, den heutigen
er selbst konnte zur erkenntniskritischen Deutung sei- Stand des Problems zu kennzeichnen und in Umrissen
ner metamathematischen revolutionierenden Ergebnis- auch seine uralte Geschichte zu skizzieren. Er kann
se keinen entscheidenden Beitrag liefern. Sein philoso- sich dabei auf seine eigenen umfangreichen Beitr~ige
phischer Standpunkt mul3 sogar durchaus angezweifelt zur Neurophysiologie, insbesondere der Hirnrinde,
werden. Seine Hauptstiitze in dieser Hinsicht, die Ph~i- stiatzen und kommt zu dem Ergebnis, dab naturwis-
nomenologie Husserls [26] steht auf schwachen Fiil3en; senschaftlich feststellbare physikochemische Prozesse
schon die Bedeutung dieser Bezeichnung ist unklar, und in Nervennetzen zwar die Vorbedingungen von bewul3-
die vielen Neologismen Husserls tragen dazu bei, dab ter Wahrnehmung, von Handeln und von Erleben
dieses erkenntniskritische System schliefSlich auf ,,einen sind, dab aber damit die Beziehung von ,,Geist und
bedeutungslosen leeren Wortschwall" (verbiage, [18], Gehirn" keineswegs als gekl~irt angesehen werden
Bd. 3, S. 322) hinausl~iuft. kann, ihr Zusammenhang bleibt ein ,,letztlich uner-
Wie auch Bertrand Russell neigt GOdel philosophisch kl~irbares Axiom" ([3], S. 20). Der Wert von Creutz-
hinsichtlich der Grundlagen der Mathematik zu einem feldts Beitrag liegt in seiner knappen Zusammenfas-
Platonischen Realismus ([4], S. 15, [16], S. 401). Da- sung des heutigen Standes der Neurophysiologie des
nach werden ,,Klassen" als ,,wirkliche" Objekte ver- Gehirns, die durch instruktive Schemata erl~iutert
standen, n~imlich als Vielfache von Dingen; diese An- wird; das Gehirn ist einerseits ein Kontrollsystem des
nahme wird als ebenso berechtigt angesehen wie dieje- gesamten Organismus, andererseits kann es in einigen
nige der Existenz ,,physikalischer K/~rper", ohne die seiner Mechanismen als Voraussetzung von ,,Geist"
eine befriedigende Theorie unserer Sinneswahrneh- ( = Bewul3tsein) angesehen werden.
mungen nicht m0glich ist ([16], S. 402). Offenbar liegt
die Schw~iche von G0dels philosophischen Folgerun-
gen aus seiner mathematischen Entdeckung in seiner H. Kuhlenbecks Neurologische
Deutung von Wirklichkeit, ihre St~irke in der einheitli- Erkenntniskritik
chen Auslegung biologischer und ktinstlicher Kommu-
nikations- und Kontroll-Mechanismen. G0dels Folge- Im Endergebnis stimmt Creutzfeldt mit den Anschau-
rungen in dieser Hinsicht wurden von Church, Rosser, ungen Hartwig Kuhlenbecks tiberein, der, weitgehend
Kleene, Turing u.a. aufgenommen (s. [16], S. 403). Sie unbeachtet, dieser Frage sein ganzes Forscherleben ge-
zeigen deutlich einerseits die Gemeinsamkeiten solcher widmet hat (s. [7]). In seinen beiden Monographien
nattirlicher (neuronaler) und ktinstlicher Systeme, an- ,,Brain and Consciousness" [14] und ,,Mind and Mat-
dererseits ihre Unterschiede und die Grenzen einer ter" [16] und ausftihrlich in seinem dreib~tndigen Ab-
,,Maschinentheorie" des Gehirns sowie des Vergleichs schlul3werk ,,The Human Brain and its Universe" [18]
von Computer und Gehirn. hat er sich dazu ge~iufSert. W~ihrend Creutzfeldt sich
zur erkenntnistheoretischen Seite des Problems und zu
seiner Geschichte nut aphoristisch auf Aristoteles,
Beziehungen der G6del-Sfitze zum Thomas v. Aquin, Descartes, Galilei, Kant und einige
Gehirn-BewuBtsein-Problem moderne Philosophen, darunter N. Hartmann, Witt-
genstein und C. Popper, bezieht, hat Kuhlenbeck im
Versuchen wir schliefSlich die Frage zu beantworten, Rahmen seiner ,,Neurologischen Erkenntniskritik"
welche Beziehung G0dels Theoreme in ihren erkennt- diesen Grundfragen und ihrer Geschichte einen ganzen

396
Band von 500 Seiten [18] gewidmet. Seine Lehre steht Hauptvertreter dieser Richtung ist Wittgenstein. Bes-
auf einer breiten philosophisch-historischen Basis, die seres Verst~indnis der Gehirn-BewuBtsein-Problematik
mit Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer und Vaihin- konnte nicht erreicht werden. So neigt z.B. Hofstad-
ger in die Vergangenheit reicht. In die Ergebnisse, die ter, einer ihrer Vertreter, dazu, das BewuBtsein mit
in der kritischen Auseinandersetzung mit diesen Den- Hilfe seines Konzeptes von Stufen der Komplexit~it
kern gewonnen wurden, hat er noch Erkenntnisse der von Gehirnvorg~ingen als ein ,,Ph~tnomen intrinsisch
letzten hundert Jahre eingearbeitet, so etwa die Lehren hoher Stufe" zu verstehen ([12], S. 755). Es handelt
der ,,unvollkommenen Idealisten" (Ziehen, Mach, sich dabei um bereits 1950 von Slater ge~uBerte Vor-
Bertrand Russell). Eine erste Bekanntschaft mit Kuh- stellungen, die sich auf die Lehre von den ,,Schichten
lenbecks Theorien kann sein ,,Gehirn, BewuBtsein und des Realen" [10] sttitzen und die Kuhlenbeck [14, 18]
Wirklichkeit" [19] vermitteln. Seine Lehre ist nicht auf als Metabasis eis allogenos zurtickgewiesen hat.
theoretische Betrachtungen gegrtindet, sondern auf
eine Beschreibung der gegebenen Aspekte des Be-
wuBtseins in 1]bereinstimmung mit der unmittelbaren Das Gehirn-Paradox
Erfahrung und gesicherten Tatsachen der Neurophy-
siologie, kombiniert mit wenigen Grundprinzipien der Nach diesen Vorbemerkungen kann in engem An-
Logik, die ihrerseits ein Ergebnis von Hirnaktivit~iten schluB an [16] zur Bedeutung von GOdels Arbeiten ftir
ist. Die neurologische" Erkenntniskritik l~iBt sich kurz das Gehirn-BewuBtsein-Problem das Folgende gesagt
folgendermaBen kennzeichnen: werden:
BewuBtsein ist eine private, raum-zeitlich strukturierte Schopenhauers von Kuhlenbeck zugrunde gelegter
Mannigfaltigkeit und stellt mit seinen in Wechselbezie- Satz, dab BewuBtsein eine abh~ingige Variable, d.h.
hungen stehenden sensorischen und extrasensorischen eine Funktion des Gehirns ist, gehOrt in diesem Sinne
Perzepten die Gesamtheit des aktuell Gegebenen dar. nicht zu einem logischen System, sondern ist eine ein-
Neurologische Erkenntniskritik l/iuft philosophisch fache, dutch aktuelle Beobachtung gut begrtindete
auf einen Solipsismus als Ausgangsposition hinaus, Tatsache. Dieser Satz, durch logische Schltisse weiter
wie er etwa im Traum offenbar wird. FremdbewuBt- entfaltet, ftihrt alsbald zu einem Widerspruch, n~im-
sein ist niemals unmittelbar erfahrbar, aber eine prak- lich zum Gehirn-Paradox. Hier zeigt sich nun eine
tisch notwendige SchluBfolgerung. Gegentiber der tiberraschende und wichtige Beziehung zu GOdels
fltichtigen BewuBtseinsmannigfaltigkeit ist die Wirk- Hauptarbeit [9]. GOdel bemerkt (S. 175), dab die
lichkeit in Kuhlenbecks erstem Sinne die Existenz und gleichzeitige Beweisbarkeit eines Satzes und seiner Ne-
Persistenz nicht wahrgenommener Ereignisse, die er gation zu einem Widerspruch ftihrt, der in Analogie zu
als ,,Ordnung X" bezeichnet, weil sie jenseits von allen epistemologischen Antinomien steht, von denen
Raum und Zeit, die es nur im BewuBtsein gibt, keiner- er das Richard-Paradox und das Epimenides-Paradox
lei formulierbare Besonderheiten hat. Kuhlenbecks erw~ihnt, ohne n~iher auf sie einzugehen (zum Richard-
Wirklichkeit im zweiten Sinne umfaBt diejenigen pri- Paradox vgl. [25], S. 3 - 1 1 ) . Das Epimenides- (bei
vaten BewuBtseinsinhalte, die ,,Offentliche Daten" GOdel Ltigen-)Paradox wird in [19] (S. 22) im Ab-
darstellen (vgl. [19], S. 39, 130) und dem Prinzip vom schnitt tiber das Gehirnparadox einleitend diskutiert.
zureichenden Grunde unterliegen ([19], S. 127). Das Gehirn-Paradox hatte bereits G. Berkeley (1713)
Philosophisch ftihrt Kuhlenbecks neurologische Er- erkannt, aber verworfen (vgl. [19], S. 23); Schopen-
kenntniskritik zum transzendentalen Neutralismus hauer hat sich ihm am meisten angen~ihert [24]: ,,Was
([19], S. 130), Neutralismus, weil er weder Materialis- hingegen erkennt, was jene Vorstellung hat, ist das Ge-
mus noch Idealismus ist, transzendental, weil er, ob- hirn, welches jedoch sich selbst nicht erkennt, sondern
wohl auf Erfahrung gegrtindet, diese tiberschreitet. nur als Intellekt, d.h. als Erkennendes, also nur sub-
Diese Lehre ist insofern dualistisch, als zwischen Be- jektiv, sich seiner bewuBt wird.". .... Das Gehirn selbst
wuBtsein und Nicht-BewuBtsein unterschieden wird. ist, sofern es vorgestellt wird, - also im BewuBtsein
Kuhlenbeck zieht das Wort ,,BewuBtsein" statt ,,Geist" anderer Dinge, mithin sekund~ir, - selbst nur Vorstel-
vor. Zwar kOnnen beide synonym benutzt werden, lung." Die Unklarheiten in der Aussage Schopenhau-
doch ist das von Creutzfeldt gebrauchte ,,Geist" viel- ers beruhen haupts~ichlich auf seiner philosophischen
deutiger und kann zu MiBverst~indnissen ftihren. In Hauptschw~iche, der Reifikation des Willens als ,,Ding
den Forschungsrichtungen, in denen heute vorwiegend an sich" ([19], S. 25). Zeller [29] hat auf dieses Para-
die Problematik der Gehirn-BewuBtsein-Beziehung be- dox bei Schopenhauer hingewiesen, ohne jedoch sei-
handelt wird, der ,,kognitiven Psychologie" und der nen tiefen Sinn zu begreifen; er meinte, es handele sich
,,Psycholinguistik", steht die Sprache im Vorder- um einen fehlerhaften logischen ZirkelschluB [23].
grund, zu der sich Kuhlenbeck in einem kaum beachte- Seitdem spricht man auch vom ,,Zellerschen Zirkel"
ten Aufsatz ge~iuBert hat [17]. Der philosophische oder vom ,,Schopenhauer-Paradox".

397
Es ist das groBe Verdienst von Hartwig Kuhlenbeck, die Fragen nach ,,den letzten Dingen" vom Menschen
das Gehirn-Paradox genau analysiert und in seiner Be- nicht vollstandig beantwortet werden, und das be-
deutung erkannt zu haben [15, 18, 19]. Dieses Paradox riihmte ,,Ignorabimus" von Du Bois-Reymond behalt
laBt sich wie die anderen epistemologischen Antino- in dieser Hinsicht auch heute noch seine Berechtigung.
mien nach GOdels Bemerkung ([9], S. 175) zu seinem Auch diese Einsicht steht letzten Endes erkenntniskri-
Unentscheidbarkeitstheorem in eine for die Problema- tisch mit G6dels revolutionierender Leistung in Zu-
tik der Gehirn-BewuBtsein-Beziehung entscheidend sammenhang. In Anbetracht der Verdienste Kuhlen-
wichtige Verbindung bringen. Zeller formuliert kurz, becks um die Analyse und Erklarung des Gehirn-Para-
,,dab die Vorstellung ein Produkt des Gehirns und das doxes wird vorgeschlagen, dieses Paradox in Zukunft
Gehirn ein Produkt der Vorstellung sein soil", Kuhlen- als ,,Kuhlenbeck-Paradox" zu bezeichnen.
beck (in Anlehnung an Schopenhauer)" ,,Unsere Welt
des BewuBtseins ist ein Gehirnphanomen, aber das Ge-
hirn ist selbst ein Gehirnphanomen" ([19], S. 23). Der
Widerspruch in den beiden Teilen dieser Satze ent-
spricht ganz den von GOdel behandelten metamathe- 1. B6rger, E.: Berechenbarkeit, Komplexit~R und Logik. Braun-
matischen Widerspriichen ([9], S. 175). Die Analogie schweig/Wiesbaden: Viehweg 1986
2. Christian, K.: Mh.Math. 89, 261 (1980)
liegt in der in beiden Fallen vorhandenen Rekursion im
3. Creutzfeldt, O.: Gehirn und Geist. Bursfelder Universit~ttsre-
zweiten Satzteil. Wahrend derartige Widersprtiche bei den. GOttingen: GOttinger Tageblatt 1986
anderen Antinomien, etwa beim Ltigner- oder beim 4. Dawson jr., J. W.: Math. Intell. 6 (4), 9 (1984)
Barbier-Paradox, im Bereich der Aktualitat liegen und 5. Fischer-Lexikon, Mathematik 1. Frankfurt: Fischer 1964
leicht aufgehoben werden k6nnen, erweist sich das Ge- 6. Friedrichsdorf, U., Prestel, A. : Mengenlehre ft~r den Mathema-
tiker. Braunschweig/Wiesbaden: Viehweg 1985
hirn-Paradox als unl6sbar: ,,es verlangt namlich ein 7. Gerlach, J.: Anat. Anz. 161, 89 (1986)
eingebildetes Gehirn, das nicht im Bereich von Be- 8. GOdel, K.: Mh.Math. Phys. 37, 349 (1930)
wuBtsein, sondern in einem extramentalen 6ffentli- 9. G6del, K.: ibid. 38, 173 (1931)
chen (public) physikalischen Raum-Zeit-System vorge- 10. Hartmann, N. : Der Aufbau der realen Welt. Meisenheim: Hain
stellt wird. Da nach Kuhlenbeck jedoch die extramen- 1949
11. Hilbert, D., Ackermann, W. : Grundziige der theoretischen Lo-
tale ,,Welt" entblOBt von materiellen resp. raumzeitli- gik. Berlin-GOttingen-Heidelberg: Springer 1949
chen Kennzeichen ist, kann ein so vorgestelltes Gehirn 12. Hofstadter, D. R. : G6del, Escher, Bach. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta
nicht existieren. Das einzig ,,existierende" Gehirn ist 1986
das aktuelle perzeptuelle Gehirn, das im BewuBtsein 13. Kleene, St. C. : Mathematical Logic. New York: Wiley 1967
14. Kuhlenbeck, H. : Brain and Consciousness. Basel: Karger 1957
gelegen ist" ([19], S. 26/27). 15. Kuhlenbeck, H.: Conf. Neurol. 19, 462 (1959)
Das Gehirn-Paradox bildet zusammen mit der Durch- 16. Kuhlenbeck, H. : Mind and Matter. Basel: Karger 1961
leuchtung und Erweiterung von Schopenhauers Satz 17. Kuhlenbeck, H., in: Helen Adolf Festschrift, p. 9 (S. Z. Bueh-
vom zureichenden Grunde den Kern von Kuhlenbecks ne, J. L. Lodge, L. B. Pinto, eds.). New York: Ungar 1968;
Dtsche Ubers. von J. Gerlach: Sprache Kognit. 5, 174 (1986)
neurologischer Erkenntniskritik. Zwar ist es, ebenso
18. Kuhlenbeck, H.: The Human Brain and its Universe. Basel:
wie das Realitatsproblem, prinzipiell unlOsbar, kann Karger 1982
aber, wie Kuhlenbeck gezeigt hat, durch Annaherun- 19. Kuhlenbeck, H.: Gehirn, BewuBtsein und Wirklichkeit (Hrsg.
gen umgangen werden, die mit weiteren fiktionellen J. Gerlach). Darmstadt: Steinkopff 1986
und unentscheidbaren Satzen ein logisches System im 20. Nagel, E., Newman, J. R. : G6del's proof, zitiert nach [16]
21. Prestel, A. : Einfiihrung in die Mathematische Logik und Mo-
Sinne yon GSdel bilden. Nach seinem Theorem kann delltheorie. Brannschweig/Wiesbaden: Viehweg 1986
dessen einfache Konsistenz nicht innerhalb des Sy- 22. Rosser, J. B.: J.symbol. Logic 4, 53 (1939)
stems selbst bewiesen werden. Insoweit besteht Uber- 23. Schlesinger, B. : Schopenhauer-Jhrb. 59, 184 (1978)
einstimmung mit den Theoremen von GOdel und 24. Schopenhauer, A.: Werke, Bd. 3, S. 284 (Hrsg. A. Htibscher).
Wiesbaden: Brockhaus 1972
Church. Auch alle weiteren und auch andere Ausar-
25. Stegmtiller, W.: Unvollst~indigkeit und Unentscheidbarkeit.
beitungen zum behandelten Grundproblem unterlie- Wien: Springer 1959
gen dieser Einschrankung. 26. Wang, H.: Math. Intell. 1, 182 (1978)
Kuhlenbecks besonders ausftihrlich ausgearbeiteter 27. Whitehead, A. N., Russell, B.: Principia Mathematica. Cam-
und durchdachter LOsungsversuch mit der Annahme bridge Univ.Press 1925- 1927
28. Wittgenstein, L.: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Frankfurt:
giiltiger Fiktionen bleibt mit Notwendigkeit unvoll- Suhrkamp 1963
standig und enthalt unentscheidbare Satze. Wie er am 29. Zeller, E. : Geschichte der deutschen Philosophie seit Leibniz,
Ende seines AbschluBwerkes [18, 19] ausfiihrt, k0nnen S. 885. Mtinchen: Oldenbourg 1873

398
212 KNOWING AND BEING
precise impression of the two pictures which contribute t o it. But
we must distinguish between the two kinds of seeing: we are
focusing our attention on the stereo-image, while we see the two pictures
IJ onf:y as they bear on the stereo-image. We don't look at these two in
themselves, but see them as clues to their joint appearance in the
The Structure stereo-image. It is their function to serve as clues.
We may describe the situation by saying that we arefocal/y aware
of Consciousness of the stereo-image, by being subsidiarif:y aware of the two separate
1965 pictures. And we may add that the characteristic feature of sub­
sidiary awareness is to have a function, the function of bearing on
something at the focus of our attention. Next we may observe that
the focal image, into which the two subsidiary pictures are fused,
Sir Francis Walshe, i n whose honour this essay was first pub­ brings out theirjoint meaning; and thirdly, that this fusion brings about
lished, 1 has often spoken of the inadequacy of anatomic struc­ a quality not present in the appearance of the subsidiaries. We may
tures to account for the full range of mental actions; he insisted recognize then these three features as parts of a process of know­
on the presence of integrative mental powers not explicable in ing a focal object by attending subsidiarily to the clues that bear
these terms. Toward the end of this paper I shall give reasons on it. We meet here the structure of tacit knowing, with its char­
supporting this view. acteristic functional, semantic, and phenomenal aspects.
I have developed this analysis of tacit knowing many times
I Two Kinds of Awareness before and have now chosen the example of stereoscopic viewing
I shall start with an analysis of perception and shall arrive by suc­ in order to prevent a recurrent misconception. 2 It is a mistake to
cessive generalizations of the result to a stratified structure of identify subsidiary awareness with subconscious or preconscious
living things, which will include the structure of consciousness in awareness, or with the fringe of consciousness described by
higher animals. William James. The relation of clues to that which they indicate
Take a pair of stereoscopic photographs, viewed in the proper is a logical relation similar to that which a premise has to the in­
way, one eye looking at one, the other eye at the other. The ferences drawn from it, but with the important difference that
objects appear then distributed ir;skP.!P, �unded_and real,­ tacit inferences drawn from clues are not explicit. They are
harder and more tangible. This result is due to slight differences informal, tacit.
between the two pictures, taken from two points a few inches Remember that Helmholtz tried to interpret perception as a
apart. All the information to be revealed by the stereoscopic view­ process of inference, but that this was rejected, because optical
ing is contained in these scarcely perceptible disparities. It should illusions are not destroyed by demonstrating their falsity. Tacit
be possible to compute from them the spatial dimensions of the inference is like this. The fusion of the two stereoscopic pictures
objects and their distribution in depth, and I could imagine cases to a single spatial image is not the outcome of an argument; and
in which the result of such processing may be of interest. But this if its result is illusory, as it can well be, it will not be shaken by
would not tell us what the things photographed look like. If you argument. The fusion of the clues to the image on which they
want to remember a family party or identify a criminal, you must bear is not a deduction but an integration.
integrate the st�reo-pictures by looking at them simultaneously Jean Piaget has drawn a striking distinction between a sensori­
with one eye on each. motor act and an explicit inference. Explicit inference is rever­
When looking at the stereo-image, we do see the separate pic­ sible: we can go back to its premises and go forward again to its
tures too; for we see the stereo-image only because we have a conclusions, rehearse the whole process as often as we like. This
THE STRUCTURE O F CONSCIOUSNESS 213 2. 1 4 KNOWING AND BEING
is not true for the sensorimotor act: for example, once we have effect. I have carried out this analysis often elsewhere and shall
seen through a puzzle, we cannot return to an ignorance of its take it for granted here. 4 But there is a further step which I must
solution. restate once more. I shall say that we observe external objects by
The seeing of two stereo-pictures as one spatial image is, in­ being subsidiarily aware of the impact they make on our body and
deed, irreversible in two senses. Firstly, it is difficult to find our of .the re� onses oqt_ body IJ?.akes to t4E_g) . All our conscious trans­
way back to the clues in the two pictures, because they are hardly actions with the world involve our subsidiary use of our body.
visible. And there are many other clues to seeing something, like And our body is the only aggregate of things of which we are
memories and the feeling inside our eye muscles, which we either aware almost exclusively in such a subsidiary manner.
cannot trace or cannot experience in themselves at all; they are I am speaking here of active consciousness, which excludes in­
largely submerged, unspecifiable. coherent dreams or pathological bursts of temper. Active con­
Secondly-and this is more important for us-to go back to the sciousness achieves coherence by integrating clues to the things
premises of a tacit inference brings about its reversal. It is not to on which they bear or integrating parts to the wholes they form.
retrace our steps, but to efface them. Suppose we take out the This brings forth the two levels of awareness: the lower one for the
stereo-pictures from the viewer and look at them with both eyes. clues, the parts or other subsidiary elements and the higher one
All the effects of the integration are cancelled; the two pictures no for the focally apprehended comprehensive entity to which these
longer function as clues, their joint meaning has vanished. What elements point. A deliberate act of consciousness has therefore
has happened here may be regarded as the inverse of tacit in­ not only an identifiable object as its focal point, but also a set of
ference; a process of logical disintegration has reduced a comprehensive subsidiary roots which function as clues to its object or as parts
entity to its relatively meaningless fragments. of it.
The best-known example of this is the way a spoken word loses ... This is the point at which our body is related to our mind. As
its meaning jf we repeat it a number of times, while carefully our sense organs, 0U�J1erves and b_rain, our uscles and memories,
v atterulirigto th� movement of our lips and tongue and to the serve . to implement our £.onscious int�.Q.tio.g., our awareness of
SO�Ed we are making. All these elements are meaningful, so long them enters --subsidiarily_into-the_coni_p_Ieliensiv� �ntity which
as we attend through them to that on which they bear, but lose forms the focus ofi our attention. A suitable term is needed to
their meaning when we attend to them in themselves, focally. The speak of this rel;t�n -briefly. I shall say that we attend from the
famous tight-rope walker, Blondin, says in_hiLmel:!?-oirs that he subsidiary particulars to their joint focus. Acts of consciousness
would instantly lose his balance if he thought ·4irectlY of keeping are then ·not only conscious of something, but also conscious from
it; he must force himself to think only of the way he would
V Certain tgings WlliCh inCJ:!:!d�OUr body. When WeeX�e a human
eventually des,cend from the rope. 3 body engaged in conscious action, we meet no traces of conscious­
The purpose of this paper is-to show that the relation between body and ness in its organs; and this can be understood now in the sense
mind pas. the same_ logical structure as the relation between clues and the that subsidiary elements, like the bodily organs engaged in con­
imqge to which the clues are pointing. I believe that the paradoxes of scious action, lose their functional appearance when we cease to
the body-mind relation can be traced to this logical structure and look from them at the focus on which they bear, and look instead
their solution be found in the light of this interpretation. at them, in themselves.
The example of stereo-vision stands of course for a wide range The way we know a comprehensive entity by relying on our
of similar intellectual and practical feats of knowing. We know a awareness of its parts for attending to its whole is the way we are
comprehensive whole, for example a dog, by relying on our aware of our body-for_ attending to an external event. We may say
awareness of its parts for attending focally to the whole. When we therefore that we know a comprehensive entity by interiorizing its
perform a skill, we attend focally to its outcome, while being parts or by making ourselves tfwelj in them; and the opposite pro­
aware subsidiarily of the several moves we co-ordinate to this cess of switching attention to 'the parts can be described as turn-
T H E STRUCTURE O F C O N S C I O U S NE S S 2. 1 5 KNOWING AND BEING
ing the parts into external objects without functional meaning; it is puzzlement, and concentrated attention, by which Koehler de­
to externalize them. scribed the mental efforts of his chimpanzees. It avoids the com­
This formulation of tacit knowing is particularly suited for plex, delicately graded situations which evoke these mental states.
describing the way we know another person's mind. We know a The study of learning is thus cut down to its crudest form known
chess player's mind by dwelling in the str�tagems_ of his games as conditioning. And this oversimple paradigm of learning may
and know another man's p�ain by dwelling in his face 9_istorted by then be misdescribed as it was by Pavlov, when he identified eating
suffering. And we may cone ude that the opposite process, namely with an expectation to be fed, because both of these induce the
of 1ns1sting on looking at the parts of an observed behaviour as secretion of saliva. Wherever we define mental processes by
several objects, must make usJos_e_sight_of the__mifl:9 in£Q:1J:trol of objectivist circumlocutions, we are apt to stumble into such
a person's behaviour. absurdities.
But what should we think then of current schools of psychology The actual working of behaviourism therefore confirms my
which claim that they replace the study of mental processes, by conclusion that strictly isolated pieces of behaviour are meaning­
observing the several particulars of behaviour as objects and by less fragments, not identifiable as parts of behaviour. Behaviourist
establishing experimentally the laws of their occurrence? We may psychology depends on covertly alluding to the mental states
doubt that the identification of the particulars is feasibl<;"since which it sets out to eliminate.
\.I
they will include many unspecifiable clues; but the feasibility of
the programme will not only be uncertain, it will be logically 2. Principles of Boundary Control
impos_sible. To objectivize the parts of conscious behaviour must But is not the material substance of all higher entities governed
make us lose sight of the mind and dissolve the very image of a throughout by the laws of inanimate matter? Does it not follow
coherent behaviour. then that it must be possible to represent all their workings in
Admittedly, behaviourist studies do not reach this logical con­ terms of these laws? Yes, this would follow. If I claim that these
sequence of their programme. This is due to the fact that we can­ higher entities are irreducible, I must show that they are governed
not wholly shift our attention to the fragments of conscious in part by principles beyond the scope of physics and chemistry.
behaviour. When we quote a subject's report on a mental experi­ I shall do so. I shall show first that a number of different prin­
ence in place of referring to this experience, this leaves our ciples can control a comprehensive entity at different levels. I have
knowledge of that experience untouched; the report has in fact repeatedly presented this theory in more particular terms. 5 It will
no meaning, except by bearing on this experience. An experi­ be developed here on general lines.
menter may speak of an electric shock as an objective fact, but There exist principles that apply to a variety of circumstances.
he administers it only because he knows its painful effect. After­ They can be laws of nature, like the laws of mechanics, or be
wards he observes changes in the conductivity of the subject's principles of operation, like those of physiology, as for example
skin which in themselves would be meaningless, for they actually those controlling muscular contraction and co-ordination; or they
signify the expectation of an electric shock-the skin response is can be principles laid down for the use of artifacts, like the vocabu­
in fact but a variant of goose flesh. lary of the English language or the rules of chess. Not all important
Thus a behaviourist analysis merely paraphrases mentalist de­ principles have such wide scope; but I need not go into this, for it
scriptions in terms known to be symptoms of mental states and is enough to have pointed out that some principles exist that do.
its meaning consists in its mentalist connotations. The practice of We can go on to note then that such a principle is necessarily
such paraphrasing might be harmless and sometimes even appro­ compatible with any restriction we may choose to impose on the
priate, but a preference for tangible terms of description will often situation to which it is to apply; it leaves wide open the condi­
be restrictive and misleading. The behaviourist analysis of learn­ tions under which it can be made to operate. Consequently, these
ing, for example, has banned the physiognomies of surprise, conditions lie beyond the control of our principle and may be said
THE STRUCTURE O F C ONS C IOUSNES S 2. 1 7 218 KNOWING A N D BEING

to form its boundaries, or more precisely its boundary conditions. of the higher principles and destroy the comprehensive entity
The term 'boundary conditions'-borrowed from physics-will controlled by them.
be used here in this sense. Such is the mechanism of a two-levelled comprehensive entity.
Next we recognize that in certain cases the boundary conditions Let me show now that the two-levelled logic of tacit knowing
of a principle are in fact subject to control by other principles. performs exactly what is needed for understanding this mechanism.
These I will call higher principles. Thus the boundary conditions Tacit knowing integrates the particulars of a comprehensive
of the laws of mechanics may be controlled by the operational entity and makes us see them forming the entity. This integration
principles which define a machine; the boundary conditions of recognizes the higher principle at work on the boundary con­
muscular action may be controlled by a pattern of purposive be­ ditions left open by the lower principle, by mentally performing
haviour, like that of going for a walk; the boundary of conditions the workings of the higher principle. It thus materializes the
of a vocabulary are usually controlled by the rules of grammar, functional structure of tacit knowing. It also makes it clear to us
and the conditions left open by the rules of chess are controlled how the comprehensive entity works by revealing the meaning of
by the stratagems of the players. And so we find that machines, its parts. We have here the semantic aspect of tacit knowing. And
purposive actions, grammatical sentences, and games of chess, are since a comprehensive entity is controlled as a whole by a higher
all entities subject to dual control. principle than the one which controls its isolated parts, the entity
Such is the stratified structure of comprehensive entities. They will look different than an aggregate of its parts. Its higher prin­
embody a combination of two principles, a higher and a lower. ciplewill endow it with a stabilityand power appearing in its shape
Smash up a machine, utter words at random, or make chess moves and motions and usually produce also additional novel features.
without a purpose, and the corresponding higher principle-that We have here the phenomenal aspect of tacit knowing.
which constitutes the machine, that which makes words into sen­ And finally, we are presented also with an ontological counter­
tences, and that which makes moves of chess into a game-will part of the logical disintegration caused by switching our attention
all vanish and the comprehensive entity which they controlled from the integrating centre of a comprehensive entity to its parti­
will cease to exist. culars. To turn our attention from the actions of the higher prin­
But the lower principles, the boundary conditions of which the ciple, which defines the two-levelled entity, and direct it to the
now effaced higher principles had controlled, remain in opera­ lower principle controlling the isolated parts of the entity is to
tion. The laws of mechanics, the vocabulary sanctioned by the lose sight of the higher principle and indeed of the whole entity
dictionary, the rules of chess, they will all continue to apply as controlled by it. This mirrors the destruction of a comprehensive
before. Hence no description of a comprehensive entity in the entity when it is pulled to pieces. The logical structure of tacit
light of its lower principles can ever reveal the operation of its knowing thus covers in every detail the ontological structure of
higher principles. The higher principles which characterize a compre­ a combined pair of levels.
hensive entity cannot be defined in terms of the laws that app!J to its parts
in themselves. 3 Application of these Principles to Mind and Body
On the other hand, a machine does rely for its working on the The next question fa whether the functioning of living beings and
laws of mechanics; a purposive motoric action, like going for a of their consciousness is in fact stratified. Is it subjected to the
walk, relies on the operations of the muscular system which it joint control of different principles working at consecutive levels?
directs, and so on. The operations of higher principles rely quite The laws of physics and chemistry do not ascribe consciousness
generally on the action of the laws governing lower levels. to any process controlled by them; the presence of consciousness
Yet, since the laws of the lower level will go on operating, proves, therefore, that other principles than those of inanimate
whether the higher principles continue to be in working order or matter participate in the conscious operations of living things.
not, the action of the lower laws may well disrupt the working There are two other fundamental principles of biology which
THE STRUCTURE O F CONSCIOUSNESS 2 20 KNOWING AND B E IN G
.2.1 9
are beyond the scope of physics and chemistry. The structure and dwelling i n his physiognomy and behaviour; we lose sight of his
functioning of an organism is determined, like that of a machine, mind only when we focus our attention on these bodily workings
by constructional and operational principles which control and thus convert them intg_m.er� objects. But a neurophysiologist,
boundary conditions left open by physics and chemistry. We may observing the events that take place iii the eyes and brain of a
call this a structural principle, lying beyond the realm of physics seeing man, would invariably fail to see in these neural events
and chemistry. I have explained this a number of times before and what the man himself sees by them. We must ask why the neuro­
will not argue it here again. 6 logist cannot dwell in . these bodily events, as he could in the
Other functions of the organism not covered by physics and subject's physiognomy or intelligent behaviour.
chemistry are exemplified by the working ..of the ip_orphogenic - We may notice that the latter kind of indwelling, for which we
field. Its principles are expressed most clearly by C. H. Wadding­ appear to be equipped by nature, enables us to read only tacit
ton's 'epigenetic landscapes'. These show that the development thoughts of another mind: thoughts and feelings of the kind that
of the embryo is controlled by the gradient of potential shapes, we may suitably ascribe to organismic processes in the nervous
in the way the motion of a heavy body is controlled by the system. We can get to know the explicit thoughts of a person­
gradient of potential energy. 7 We may call this principle an which may correspond to anatomically fixed functions of the
organizing field or speak of it as an orgq_'!._ismi._c P!inciple. nervous system-only from the person's verbal utterances. The
Most biologists would declare that both the principles of struc­ meaning of such utterances is artificial; though ultimately based on
ture and of organizing fields will be reduced one day to the laws demonstrations pointing at tacit experiences, such utterances have
of P.!!Y.sics and chemistry. But I am unable to discover the grounds no direct appeal to the native mind. The facility for indwelling can
-or even understand the meaning-of such assurances, and be seen to vary also when prehistoric sites, unperceived from the
hence I will disregard them and recognize these two principles ground, are discerned from the air. Our incapacity for ex­
as actually used in biology today. periencing the neural processes of another person in the manner
Living beings consist in a hierarchy of levels, each level having he experiences them himself may be aligned with these gradual
its own structural and organismic principles. On the mental level, variations of indwelling.
explicit inferences represent the operations of fixed mental struc­ We arrive thus at thefollowing outline. Our capacity for conducting
tures, while in tacit knowing we meet the integrating powers of and experiencing the conscious operations of our body, including
the mind. In all our conscious thoughts these two modes mutually that of our nervous system, lies in the fact that we dwell fully in
rely on each other, and it is plausible to assume that explicit mental them. No one but ourselves can dwell in our body directly and
operations are based on fixed neural networks, while tacit inte­ know fully all its conscious operations; but our consciousness can
grations are grounded mainly in organizing fields. I shall assume be experienced also by others to the extent to which they can
also that these two principles are interwoven in the body, as their dwell in the external workings of our mind from outside. They
counterparts are in thought. can do this fairly effectively for many tacit workings of our mind
The purpose of this paper is to explain the relation between by dwelling in our physiognomy and behaviour; such powers of
body and mind as an instance of the relation between the .s_ub=-. indwelling are fundamentally innate in us. By contrast, our explicit
sidiar_ y and the local in tacit knowledge. The fact that any sub­ thoughts can be known to others only by dwelling in our pro­
sidiary element loses its meaning when ·we focus our attention on nouncements, the making and understanding of which is founded
it explains the fact that, when, examining the body, .i.n_c;on�ci@.S. on artificial conventions. Objectivization, whether of another
action;:we meet no .!rac��qf �Qns<;:iqu�ness ip. its organs;\ We lose person's gestures or of his utterances, cancels our dwelling in
the meaningofl:Ke subsidiaries in their role of pointing to the focal. them, destroys their meaning and cuts off communication through
Using this principle, we are now ready to complete our project. them. The nervous system, as observed by the neurophysiologist,
We have seen that we can know another person's mind by is always objectivized and can convey its meaning to the observer
TH E S T R U C T U RE O F C O N S C I O U S N E S S 221 222 KNOWING AND BEING

only indirectly, by pointing at a behaviour or a t reports that we description of the way we �r�1_1ce_Qu..r body__._ The bodY. is
understand by indwelling. 'knov�p�to_us', h��s, 't�ugbi.ts_fu.n�#9��Ly_atue�; its parts
The logic of tacit knowing and the ontological principles of engaged in the performance of our actions 'are available to us in
stratified entities were derived here independently of each other, virtue of their common meaning'; 9 o_ur_p9_gy: efil)�e�.. t�u.neani_ng
and we found that our tacit logic enables us to understand strati­ but 'la.ngllag�99.es _nor-express .thought, it is the subject's taking
fied entities. It shows us then that the higher principle of a up of a position in the world of his meanings'. 1 0 'If a being is
stratified entity can be apprehended only by our dwelling in the conscious it must be nothing but a network of intentions;' 1 1 'I do
boundary conditions of a lower principle on which the higher not understand _th:__ gestures of otllers by ap. � ?f inte�l
principle operates. Such indwelling is logically incompatible with interpretation . . . . The act by 'Y...hich I_k�cl. m self to_t_ � sptc­
fixing our attention on the laws governing the lower level. ta�r�gm��g_ _a_s.J1reducible to an thiJ1.g _�!§c;' 1 2 our
Applied to mind and body, as to two strata in which the higher experience of our body is an existential ac t, no t based either on
principles of the mind rely for their operations on the lower observation nor on explicit thought. These remarks �hadow
principles of physiology, we arrive at three conclusions. my analysis, but I find among them neither the logic?of tacit
( 1) No observations of physiology can make us apprehend the knowing-nor
- the theory of ontological
-· ----· stratjfjc;�tion, which I_ re-
··---=-
operations of the mind. Both the mechanisms and organismic gard as indispensable for the understanding �f the phenomena
processes of physiology, when observed as such, will always be described by . erleau-Ponty.
found to work insentiently. Another follower of Husserl, Dr F. S. Rothschild, arrived even
(2) At the same time, the operations of the mind will never be earlier at the conclusion that the mind is the meaning of the
found to interfere with the principles of physiology, nor with the body. 13 He developed this idea widely in neurophysiology and
even lower principles of physics and chemistry on which they rely. psychiatry, where I am not competent to follow him.
(;) But as the operations of the mind rely on the services of The mainstream of contemporary English and American philo­
lower bodily principles, the mind can be disturbed by adverse sophy ignores the inquiries of phenomenologists. But it shares
changes in the body, or be offered new opportunities by favour­ their rejection of Ca���ian_dualism, and the �ship of _!:he two _
able changes of its bodily basis. movements goes beyond this. Deprive my quotations from the
The way integration functions in tacit knowing, as well as the Phenomenology of Perception of their existentialis t perspective, and
presence of irreducible organismic principles in living beings, are they can be equated with obsezyations-of-Ryle -in the-Conc.e.pt-of
both consonant with the arguments presented by Sir Francis Mincf_(�949). 14 But such a transition brings out the theoretical
Walshe for the presence of integrative mental powers, not inadequacy of these observations and results in drawing false
accounted for by the fixed anatomic structures of the central conclusions from them. Take a simple example. Merleau-Ponty
nervous system. 8 says_'l__g_Q_not understand the gestures of others by an act of intel­
\J lectual interpretation', and Ryle says the same: 'I �m not inferring -­
4 Retrospect t o the workings of _ yo�nd, I am (allowing them;' 15 but
Many philosophic efforts of our century can be seen to have Merleau-Ponty finds an alternative to 'intellectual interpretation'
pointed towards such conclusions. A systematic attempt to safe­ � in existential experience, while Ryle has none and affir�s, there­
guard the content of unsophisticated experience against the effects fore, that 'most intelligent pefformance�_!� _noL clues _tQ �
of a destructive analysis was made by :fu!mund Ijyss�rl during the mind; they �re t_!ios_::_��.!!ci_ngs;,I 6 which is ��uJd. Many vivid
first three decades of this century with £�:reaching influe�n and often subtle phenomenological descriptions are used by Ryle
Contin�tal p�s_2p_hy._But its bearing on the body-mind prob­ to demonstrate that the mind does not explicitly operate on the
lem was derived mainly later by Merleau-Ponty in hisPheno­ body, and from this result he concludes that �y and min9- are
menologie de la Perception (1945). He gives a vivid ancl_elaborate 'not two things', 17 'n�andem operations', 18 containing no
---- 1 �� ---
THE STRU CTURE O F CONSCIOUSNESS 22 3 zz4 K N O W I N G AND B E I N G
). ts
'occult causes', 1 9 'no occult antecedents', 2 0 no 'ghost in the English, of Dr Rothschild's work, see F . s . Ro T H s c H I L D , 'Laws of Symbolic Media­
tion in the Dynamics of Self and Personality', Annal.r of the New York A(ademy of
machine', 2 1 in other words, no Cartesian duality. But what actu­ Sdenm, 96 (1962), pp. 774-84.
ally follows from the fact that mind and body do not interact 14 G . R YLB, Con(ept of Mind, London: Hutchinson, 1949.
16 Ibid p. 6 1.
explicitly is that they interact according to the logic o(!�cit k_npJ,Y::._ .,
18 Ibid., p 5 8 .
.
ing. And it is this logic that disposes of the Cartesian dilemma by 17 Ibid., p. 4.
7
acknowledging two mutually exclusive ways of being aware of 18 Ibid., p. 46.

our body. 19 Ibid., p. 5 0 .


20 Ibi
d., p . 1 1 5 .
As Ryle's powerful argument leads him to fallacious con­ 2 1 Ibid. , pp. 1 5-16.
clusions, it offers a compelling demonstration of the troubles
arising from the absence of the cognitive and ontological prin­
ciples outlined in the present paper; that is why I selected his
work for representing anti-Cartesian thought in contemporary
British and American literature.

1
Brain, 88 (1965), pp. 799-8 1 0.
2
Recent publications of the author on which this paper draws: 'Clues to an Under­
standing of Mind and Body', Th�J_cftnti.rt. Spe:ufE!es_(1 . J . G O O D , ed.), London:
Heinemann, 1962, p. 67; 'Tacit Knowing and Its Bearing on Some Problems of
Philosophy', Reviews of Modern Physics, J4 (1962), pp. 601-1 6 (Essay I I above);
'Science and Man's Place in the Universe', in Science as a Cultural Force (H . W O O L F ,
ed.), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1 964, Oxford University Press, 1965; 'On the
Modern _Mind', Encounter (May, 1 965); 'The Logic of Tacit Inference', .Philosophy
(Jan. 1 966) pp. 1-1 8 (Essay 10 above); 'The Creative Imagination', Chemical and
Engineering News, 44 (1966), pp. 85-9 3 ; The Tacit Dimension, Garden City: Double­
day, 1966.
3 Referred to in F. J. J. B U Y T E N D I J K , Trait! de Psychologie Animate, Paris: Presses

Universitaires de France, 1 9 5 2, p. 1 26.


4
See 2 above.
5
Ibid. _ See also Essay 14 below.
6
Ibid. See also Essay 14 below.
7
Cf. e.g., C:if.JY.AllD I �G T O N , The Strategy of the Genes, London: Allen & Unwin,
1 9n;particularly the explanation of genetic assimilation, p. 1 67.
8
F. W A L S H E , Critical Studies in Neurology and Further Critical Studies in Neurology
with other Essays aJtd Addresses, Edinburgh: Livingstone and Co., 1948 and 1965,
respectively.
9 M . M E R L E A U - P O N T Y , Phenomenology of Perception, London: Routledge, 1 962,

p. 149.
10
Ibid., p. 1 9 3 .
1 1 Ibid.,
p. 1 2 1 .
1 2 Ibid.,
p. 1 8 5 .
13
See Rothschild's earlier writings, which extend back t o 19 3 0. A fairly recent
summary of them is given in the monograph: F. s . R O T H S C H I L D , Das Zentral­
nervensystem als Symbol des Erlebens, Basel and New York: S. Karger, 1 9 5 8, VII,
pp. 1-1 3 4. In this monograph, Dr Rothschild points out on pp. 10-I I that the
meaning of the CNS manifested in consciousness is lost by examining the CNS as
an object-just as the denotative meaning of a word is lost by such an examination.
This anticipates part of my theory of body and mind. For a briefer summary in
Q
226 K N O W I N G AND B E I N G

periment; but there i s a difference between constructing a machine


and rigging up an experiment. The experimenter imposes restric-
14 ' tions on nature in order to observe its behaviour under these
1 restrictions, while the construction of a machine restricts nature
Life's Irreducible Structure in order to harness its workings. But we may borrow a term from
physics and describe both these useful restrictions of nature as the
1968 imposing of boundary conditions on the laws of physics and chemistry.
Let me enlarge on this. I have exemplified two types of bound­
aries. In the machine our principal interest lay in the effects of the
1 Boundaries Harness the Laws of Inanimate Nature boundary conditions, while in an experimental setting we are in­
If all men were exterminated, this would not affect the laws of terested in the natural processes controlled by the boundaries.
inanimate nature. But the production of machines would stop, There are many common examples of both types of boundaries.
and not until men arose again, could machines be formed once When a saucepan bounds a soup that we are cooking, we are
more. Some animals can produce tools, but onlymencan construct interested in the soup; and, likewise, when we observe a reaction
machines; machines arehumanartifacts, made ofinanimatematerial. in a test-tube, we are studying the reaction, not the test-tube.
The Oxford dictionary describes a machine as 'an apparatus The reverse is true for a game of chess. The strategy of the player
for applying mechanical power, consisting of a number of inter­ imposes boundaries on the several moves, which follow the laws
related parts, each with a definite function'. It might be, for of chess, but our interest lies in the boundaries-that is, in the
example, a machine for sewing or printing. Let us assume that strategy, not in the several moves as exemplifications of the laws.
the power driving the machine is built in and disregard the fact And similarly, when a sculptor shapes a stone or a painter com­
that it has to be renewed from time to time. We can say, then, poses a painting, our interest lies in the boundaries imposed on a
that the manufacture of a machine consists in cutting suitably material and not in the material itself.
shaped parts and fitting them together so that their joint mechani­ We can distinguish these two types of boundaries by saying
cal action should serve a possible human purpose. that the first represents a test-tube type of boundary whereas the
The structure of machines and the working of their structure second is of the machine type. By shifting our attention, we may
are thus shaped by man, even while their material and the forces sometimes change a boundary from one type into the other.
that operate them obey the laws of inanimate nature. In construct­ All communications form a machine type of boundary, and
ing a machine and supplying it with power, we harness the laws these boundaries form a whole hierarchy of consecutive levels of
of nature at work in its material and in its driving force and make action. A vocabulary sets boundary conditions on the utterance of
them serve our purpose. the spoken voice; a grammar harnesses words to form sentences;
This harness is not unbreakable; the structure of the machine and the sentences are shaped into a text which conveys a com­
and with it its working can break down. But this will not affect munication. At all these stages we are interested in the boundaries
the forces of inanimate nature on which the operation of the imposed by a comprehensive restrictive power, rather than in the
machine relied; it merely releases them from the restriction the principles harnessed by them.
machine imposed on them before it broke down.
2 Living Mechanisms are Classed with Machines
So the machine as a whole works under the control of two dis­
tinct principles. The higher one is the principle of the machine's From machines we pass to living beings, by remembering that
design, and this harnesses the lower one, which consists in the animals move about mechanically and that they have internal
physical chemical processes on which the machine relies. We com­ organs which perform functions as parts of a machine do-func­
monly form such a two-levelled structure in conducting an ex- tions which sustain the life of the organism much as machines
L I F E ' S I R RE D U C I B L E S T R U C T U R E 2.2 8 KNOWING AND BEING

serve the interests of their users. For centuries past the workings artificially as the parts of a machine are. It is an advantage, there­
of life have been likened to the working of machines, and physio­ fore, to find that the morphogenetic process is explained in prin­
logy has been seeking to interpret the organism as a complex net­ ciple by the transmission of information stored in DNA, as inter­
work of mechanisms. Organs are accordingly defined by their life preted in this sense by Watson and Crick.
preserving functions. A DNA molecule is said to represent a code-that is, a linear
Any coherent part of the organism is indeed puzzling to physio­ sequence of items, the arrangement of which is the information
logy, and also meaningles s to pathology, until the way it benefits conveyed by the code. In the case of DNA, each item of the
the organism is discovered. And I may add that any description series consists of one out of four alternative organic bases (more
of such a system in terms of its physical chemical topography is precisely: four alternatives consisting in two positions of two dif­
meaningless except for the fact that the description may covertly ferent compound organic bases). Such a code will convey the
recall the system's physiological interpretation-much as the maximum amount of information if the four organic bases have
topography of a machine is meaningless until we guess how the equal probability of forming any particular item of the series. Any
device works, and for what purpose. difference in the binding of the four alternative bases, whether at
In this light the organism is shown to be, like a machine, a the same point of the series or between two points of the series,
system which works according to two different principles: its will cause the information conveyed by the series to fall below the
structure serves as a boundary condition harnessing the physical ideal maximum. The information content of DNA is in fact
chemical processes by which its organs perform their functions. known to be somewhat reduced by such redundancy, but I accept
Thus, this system may be called a system under dual control. here the assumption of Watson and Crick that this redundancy
Morphogenesis, the process by which the structure of living does not prevent DNA from effectively functioning as a code. I
beings develops, can then be likened to the shaping of a machine shall accordingly disregard for brevity the redundancy in the
which will act as a boundary for the laws of inanimate nature. For DNA code and talk of it as if it were functioning optimally, with
just as these laws serve the machine, so they serve also the all of its alternative basic bindings having the same probability of
developed organism. occurrence.
A boundary condition is always extraneous to the process which Let us be clear what would happen in the opposite case. Sup­
it delimits. In Galileo's experiments on balls rolling down a slope, pose that the actual structure of a DNA molecule were due to the
the angle of the slope was not derived from the laws of mechanics, fact that the bindings of its bases were much stronger than the
but was chosen by Galileo. And as this choice of slopes was bindings would be for any other distribution of bases, then such
extraneous to the laws of mechanics, so are the shape and manu­ a DNA molecule would have no information content. Its code­
facture of test-tubes extraneous to the laws of chemistry. The like character would be effaced by an overwhelming redundancy.
same thing holds for machine-like boundaries; their structure can­ We may note that this is actually the case for an ordinary
not be defined in terms of the laws which they harness. Nor can chemical molecule. Since its orderly structure is due to a maxi­
a vocabulary determine the content of a text, and so on. There­ mum of stability, corresponding to a minimum of potential energy,
fore, if the structure of living things is a set of boundary con­ its orderliness lacks the capacity to function as a code. The pat­
ditions, this structure is extraneous to the laws of physics and tern of atoms forming a crystal is another instance of complex
chemistry, which the organism is harnessing. Thus the morpho­ order without appreciable information content.
logy of living things transcends the laws of physics and chemistry. There is a kind of stability which often opposes the stabilizing
force of a potential energy. When a liquid evaporates, this can be
3 DNA Information Generates Mechanisms understood as the increase of entropy accompanying the dis­
But the analogy between machine components and live function­ persion of its particles. One takes dispersive tendency into account
ing organs is weakened by the fact that the organs are not shaped by adding its powers to those of potential energy, but the cor-
L I F E ' S I R RE D U C I B L E S T R U C T U R E 229 .2. 3 0 KNOWIN G A N D B E IN G

rection is negligible for cases of deep drops in potential energy or organism, DNA initiates and controls the growth of a mechanism
for low temperatures, or for both. We can disregard it, to sim­ that will work as a boundary condition within a system under
plify matters, and say that chemical �tructures established by the dual control. And we may add that DNA itself is such a system,
stabilizing powers of chemical bonding have no appreciable in­ since every system conveying information is under dual control,
formation content. for every such system restricts and orders, in the service of con­
In the light of the current theory of evolution, the code-like veying its information, extensive resources of particulars that
structure of DNA must be assumed to have come about by a would otherwise be left at random, and thereby acts as a bounda ry
sequence of chance variations established by natural selection. condition. In the case of DNA this boundary condition is a blue­
But this evolutionary aspect is irrelevant here; whatever may be print of the growing organism. 2
the origin of a DNA configuration, it can function as a code only We can conclude that in each embryonic cell there is present
if its order is not due to the forces of potential energy. It must be the duplicate of a DNA molecule having a linear arrangement of
as physically indeterminate as the sequence of words is on a its bases-an arrangement which, being independent of the chemi­
printed page. As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous cal forces within the DNA molecules, conveys a rich amount of
to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a meaningful information. And we see that when this information
DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the is shaping the growing embryo, it produces in it boundary con­
DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence ditions which, themselves being independent of the physical
that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular chemical forces in which they are rooted, control the mechanism
sequence and thereby enables it to have a meaning-a meaning of life in the developed organism.
that has a mathematically determinate information content equal To elucidate this transmission is a major task of biologists
to the numerical improbability of the arrangement. today, to which I shall yet return.

4 DNA Acts as a Blueprint 5 Some Accessory Problems Arise Here


But there remains a fundamental point to be considered. A printed We have seen boundary conditions introducing principles not
page may be a mere jumble of words and it then has no informa­ capable of formulation in terms of physics or chemistry into in­
tion content. So the improbability count gives the possible, rather animate artifacts and living things; we have seen them as neces­
than the actual, information content of a page. And this applies sary to information content in a printed page or in DNA, and as
also to the information content attributed to a DNA molecule; the introducing mechanical principles into machines as well as into
sequence of the bases is deemed meaningful only because we the mechanisms of life.
assume with Watson and Crick that this arrangement generates Let me add now that boundary conditions of inanimate systems
the structures of the offspring by endowing it with its own established by the history of the universe are found in the domains
information content. of geology, geography and astronomy, but that these do not form
This brings us at last to the point that I aimed at when I systems of dual control. They resemble in this respect the test­
undertook to analyse the information content of DNA: can the tube type of boundaries of which I spoke above. Hence the exist­
control of morphogenesis by DNA be likened to the designing ence of dual control in machines and living mechanisms represents
and shaping of a machine by the engineer? We have seen that a discontinuity between machines and living things on the one hand and
physiology interprets the organism as a complex network of inanimate nature on the other hand, so that both machines and living
mechanisms, and that an organism is-like a machine-a system mechanisms are irreducible to the laws of physics and chemistry.
under dual control. Its structure is that of a boundary condition Irreducibility must not be identified with the mere fact that the
harnessing the physical chemical substances within the organism joining of parts may produce features which are not observed in
in the service of physiological functions. Thus, in generating an the separate parts. The sun is a sphere and its parts are not
z3z K N O W IN G A N D B E I N G
L I F E ' S I R RE D U C I B L E S T R U C T U RE 2. 3 !
spheres, nor does the law of gravitation speak of spheres; but terms of physics and chemistry, such causes being additional both
mutual gravitational interaction causes the parts of the sun to to the boundary conditions of DNA and to the morphological
form a sphere. Such cases of holism are common in physics and structure brought about by DNA.
chemistry. They are often said to represent a transition to living The missing principle which builds a bodily structure on the
things, but this is not the case, for they are reducible to the laws of lines of an instruction given by DNA may be exemplified by the
inanimate matter, while living things are not. far-reaching regenerative powers of the emb ryonic sea urchin,
But there does exist a rather different continuity between life discovered by Driesch, and by Paul Weiss's discovery that com­
and inanimate nature. For the beginnings of life do not sharply pletely dispersed embryonic cells will grow, when lumped to­
differ from their purely physical chemical antecedents. One can gether, into a fragment of the organ from which they were
reconcile this continuity with the irreducibility of living things isolated. 3 We see an integrative power at work here, characterized
by recalling the analogous case of inanimate artifacts. Take the by Spemann and by Paul Weiss as a 'field', which guides the
irreducibility of machines; no animal can produce a machine, but growth of embryonic fragments to the forming of the morpho­
some animals can make primitive tools, and their use of these logical features to which they emb ryologically belong. 4 These
tools may be hardly distinguishable from the mere use of the guides of morphogenesis are given a formal expression in Wad­
animal's limbs. Or take a set of sounds conveying information; dington's 'epigenetic landscapes'. 5 They show graphically that the
the set of sounds can be so obscured by noise that its presence is growth of the embryo is controlled by the gradient of potential
no longer clearly identifiable. We can say then that the control shapes, much as the motion of a heavy body is controlled by the
exercised by the boundary conditions of a system can be reduced gradient of potential energy.
gradually to a vanishing point. The fact that the effect of a higher Remember how Driesch and his supporters fought for recog­
principle over a system under dual control can have any value nition that life transcends physics and chemistry, by arguing that
down to zero may allow us also to conceive of the continuous the powers of regeneration in the sea urchin emb ryo were not
emergence of irreducible principles within the origin of life. explicable by a machine-like structure, and how the controversy
has continued, along similar lines, by those who insisted that
6 We Can Now Recognize Additional Irreducible Principles regulative ('equipotential' or 'organismic') integration was irre­
The irreducibility of machines and printed communications ducible to any machine-like mechanism and was therefore irre­
teaches us also that the control of a system by irreducible bound­ ducible also to the laws of inanimate nature. Now if, as I claim,
ary conditions does not interfere with the laws of physics and machines and mechanical processes in living beings are them­
chemistry. A system under dual control relies in fact for the opera­ selves irreducible to physics and chemistry, the situation is
tions of its higher principle on the working of principles of a changed. If mechanistic and organismic explanations are both
lower level, such as the laws of physics and chemistry. Irreducible equally irreducible to physics and chemistry, the recognition of
higher principles are additional to the laws of physics and chemis- · organismic processes no longer bears the burden of standing
try. The principles of mechanical engineering and of communica­ alone as evidence for the irreducibility of living things. Once the
tion of information, and the equivalent biological principles, are field-like powers guiding regeneration and morphogenesis can be
all additional to the laws of physics and chemistry. recognized without involving this major issue, I think the evi­
But to assign the rise of such additional controlling principles dence for them will be found to be convincing.
to a selective process of evolution leaves serious difficulties. The There is evidence of irreducible principles, additional to those
production of boundary conditions in the growing fetus by trans­ of morphological mechanisms, in the sentience that we ourselves
mission to it of the information contained in DNA presents a experience and that we observe indirectly in higher animals. Most
problem. Growth of a blueprint into the complex machinery that biologists set aside these facts as unprofitable considerations. But
it describes seems to require a system of causes not specifiable in again, once it is recognized, on other grounds, that life transcends
R
234 KNOWING AND BEING
LIFE'S IRREDUCIBLE STRUCTURE
physics and chemistry, there is no reason for suspending recog­ forces of inanimate nature, and the higher levels control through­
nition of the obvious fact that consciousness is a principle that out the boundary conditions left open by the laws of inanimate
fundamentally transcends not only physics and chemistry but also nature. The lowest functions of life are those called vegetative;
the mechanistic principles of living beings. these vegetative functions, sustaining life at its lowest level, leave
open-both in plants and in animals-the higher functions of
7 Biological Hierarchies Consist in a Series of Boundary Conditions growth and in animals also leave open the operations of muscular
The theory of boundary conditions recognizes the higher levels actions; next in turn, the principles governing muscular actions in
of life as forming a hierarchy, each level of which relies for its animals leave open the integration of such actions to innate pat­
workings on the principles of the levels below it, even while it terns of behaviour; and, again, such patterns are open in their
itself is irreducible to these lower principles. I shall illustrate the turn to be shaped by intelligence, while the working of intelli­
structure of such a hierarchy by showing the way five levels gence itself can be made to serve in man the still higher principles
make up a spoken literary composition. of a responsible choice.
The lowest level is the production of a voice; the second, the Each level relies for its operations on all the levels below it.
utterance of words; the third, the joining of words to make Each reduces the scope of the one immediately below it by im­
sentences; the fourth, the working of sentences into a style; the posing on it a boundary that harnesses it to the service of the
fifth, and highest, the composition of the text. next higher level, and this control is transmitted stage by stage
The principles of each level operate under the control of the down to the basic inanimate level.
next higher level. The voice Y,!:>U produce is shaped into words by The principles additional to the domain of inanimate nature are
a vocabulary; a given vocabulary is shaped into sentences in the product of an evolution, the most primitive stages of which
accordance with a grammar; and the sentences are fitted into a show only vegetative functions. This evolutionary progression is
style, which in its turn is made to convey the ideas of the com­ usually described as an increasing complexity and an increasing
position. Thus each level is subject to dual control: (i) control in capacity for keeping the state of the body independent of its sur­
accordance with the laws that apply to its elements in themselves, roundings. But if we accept, as I do, the view that living beings
and (ii) control in accordance with the laws of the powers that form a hierarchy in which each higher level represents a distinc­
control the comprehensive entity formed by these elements. tive principle that harnesses the level below it (while being itself
Such multiple control is made possible by the fact that the irreducible to its lower principles), then the evolutionary sequence
principles governing the isolated particulars of a lower level leave gains a new and deeper significance. We can recognize then a strictly
indeterminate conditions to be controlled by a higher principle. defined progression, rising from the inanimate level to ever higher addi­
Voice production leaves largely open the combination of sounds tional principles of life.
into words, which is controlled by a vocabulary. Next, a vocabu­ This is not to say that the higher levels of life are altogether
lary leaves largely open the combination of words to form sen­ absent in earlier stages of evolution. They may be present in
tences, which is controlled by grammar, and so on. Consequently, traces long before they become prominent. Evolution may be
the operations of a higher level cannot be accounted for by the seen then as a progressive intensification of the higher principles
laws governing its particulars on the next lower level. You can­ of life. This is what we witness in the development of the embryo
not derive a vocabulary from phonetics; you cannot derive gram­ and of the growing child, processes akin to evolution.
mar from a vocabulary; a correct use of grammar does not account But this hierarchy of principles raises once more a serious
for good style; and a good style does not supply the content of a difficulty. It seems impossible to imagine the sequence of higher
piece of prose. principles, transcending further at each stage the laws of in­
Living beings comprise a whole sequence of levels forming animate nature, incipiently present in DNA and ready to be trans­
such a hierarchy. Processes at the lowest level are caused by the mitted by it to the offspring. The conception of a blueprint fails
236 KNOWING AND BEIN G
L I F E ' S I R R E D U C I B L E S T R U C T U RE 23 5
to account for the transmission of faculties, like consciousness, meaning; the reader of a text has a from-at knowledge of the words'
which no mechanical device can possess. It is as if the faculty of meaning while he has only a from awareness of the words he is
vision were to be made intelligible to a person born blind by a reading; should he be able to shift his attention ful!J towards the
chapter on sense physiology. It appears, then, that DNA evokes words, these would lose their linguistic meaning for him.
the ontogenesis of higher levels, rather than determining these Thus a boundary condition which harnesses the principles of a
levels. And it would follow that the emergence of the kind of lower level in the service of a new, higher level, establishes a
hierarchy I have defined here can only be evoked, but not deter­ semantic relation between the two levels. The higher compre­
mined, by atomic or molecular accidents. However, this question hends the workings of the lower and thus forms the meaning of
cannot be argued here. the lower. And as we ascend a hierarchy of boundaries, we reach
to ever higher levels of meaning. Our understanding of the whole
8 Understanding a Hierarchy Needs 'From-at' Conceptions6
hierarchic edifice keeps deepening as we move upwards from
I have said before that the transcendence of atom.ism by mechan­ stage to stage.
ism is reflected in the fact that the presence of a mechanism is not
revealed by its physical chemical topography. We can say the 9 The Sequence of Boundaries Bears on our Scientific Outlook
same thing of all higher levels: their description in terms of any The recognition of a whole sequence of irreducible principles trans­
lower level does not tell us of their presence. We can generally forms the logical steps for understanding the universe of living
descend to the components of a lower level by analysing a higher beings. The idea, which comes to us from Galileo and Gassendi,
level, but the opposite process involves an integration of the that all manner of things must ultimately be understood in terms
principles of the lower level, and this integration may be beyond of matter in motion is refuted. The spectacle of physical matter
our powers. forming the basic tangible ground of the universe is found to be
In practice this difficulty may be avoided by an important quali­ almost empty of meaning. The universal topography of atomic
fication. To take a common example, suppose that we have re­ particles (with their velocities and forces) which, according to
peated a particular word, closely attending to the sound we are Laplace, offers us a universal knowledge of all things is seen to
making, until these sounds have lost their meaning for us; we can contain hardly any knowledge that is of interest. The claims
recover this meaning promptly by evoking the context in which made, following the discovery of DNA, that all study of life
the word is commonly used. Consecutive acts of analysing and could be reduced eventually to molecular biology have shown
integrating are in fact generally used for deepening our under­ once more that the Laplacean idea of universal knowledge is still
standing of complex entities comprising two or more levels. the theoretical ideal of the natural sciences; current opposition to
Yet the strictly logical difference between two consecutive these declarations has often confirmed this ideal, by defending the
levels remains. You can look at a text in a language you do study of the whole organism as being only a temporary approach.
not understand and see the letters that form it without being But the analysis of the hierarchy of living things shows that to
aware of their meaning, but you cannot read a text without see­ reduce this hierarchy to ultimate particulars is to wipe out our very
sight of it. Such analysis proves this ideal to be both false and
ing the letters that convey its meaning. This shows us two dif­
ferent and mutually exclusive ways of being aware of the text. destructive.
When we look at words without understanding them, we are Each separate level of existence is of course interesting in itself
focusing our attention on them, whereas, when we read the and can be studied in itself. Phenomenology has taught this by
showing how to save higher, less tangible levels of experience by
words, our attention is directed to their meaning, as part of a
not trying to interpret them in terms of the more tangible things
language. We are aware then of the words only subsidiarily, as
we attend to their meaning. So in the first case we are looking in which their existence is rooted. This method was intended to
at the words, while in the second, we are lookingfrom them at their prevent the reduction of man's mental existence to mechanical
238 KNOWING AND BEING
L I F E ' S I R RE D U C I B L E S T R U C T U R E
structures. The results of the method were abundant and are still is the same duality that exists between the airman and the pedes­
flowing, but phenomenology left the ideal of exact science un­ trian in interpreting the same traces; and also the same that exists
touched and thus failed to secure the exclusion of its claims. Thus between a person who, when reading a written sentence, sees its
phenomenological studies remained suspended over an abyss of meaning and another person who, being ignorant of the language,
reductionism. Moreover, the relation of the higher principles to sees only the writing. Mind is the meaning of certain bodily
the workings of the lower levels in which they are rooted was mechanisms; it is lost from view when we look at them focally.
lost from sight altogether. Awareness of mind and body confronts us, therefore, with two
I have mentioned how a hierarchy controlled by a series of different things. Owing to the existence of two kinds of aware­
boundary principles must be studied. When examining any higher ness-the focal and the subsidiary-we can distinguish sharply
level, we must remain subsidiarily aware of its grounds in lower between the mind as a from-to experience and the subsidiaries
levels and, turning our attention to the latter, we must continue to of this experience, when seen focally, as a bodily mechanism. We
see them as bearing on the levels above them. Such alternation can see then that, though rooted in the body, the mind is free in
of detailing and integrating admittedly leaves open many dangers. its actions-exactly as our common sense knows it to be free. The
Detailing may lead to pedantic excesses, while too broad integra­ mind harnesses neurophysiological mechanisms; though it de­
tions may present us with a meandering impressionism. But the pends on them, it is not determined by them.
principle of stratified relations does offer at least a rational frame­ Moreover, the mind itself includes an ascending sequence of
work for an inquiry into living things and the products of human principles. Its appetitive and intellectual workings are trans­
thought. cended by principles of responsibility. Thus the growth of man
I have said that the analytic descent from higher levels to their to his highest levels is seen to take place along a sequence of
subsidiaries is usually feasible to some degree, while the inte­ rising principles. And we see this evolutionary hierarchy built as
gration of items of a lower level so as to predict their possible a sequence of boundaries, each aiming at higher achievements by
meaning in a higher context may be beyond the range of our harnessing the strata below them, to which they themselves are
integrative powers. I may add now that the same things may be not reducible. These boundaries control a rising series of relations
seen to have a joint meaning when viewed from one point but to which we can understand only by being aware of their con­
be lacking this connection when seen from another point. From stituent parts subsidiarily, as bearing on the upper level which
an aeroplane we can see the traces of prehistoric sites which, over they serve.
the centuries, have gone unnoticed by people walking over them; The recognition of certain basic impossibilities has laid the
indeed, once he has landed, the pilot himself may no longer see foundations of some major principles of physics and chemistry;
these traces. similarly, recognition of the impossibility of understanding living
The relation of mind to body has a similar structure. -The mind­ things in terms of physics and chemistry, far from setting limits
body problem arises from the disparity between the experience of to our understanding of life, will guide it in the right direction.
a person observing an external object, e.g., a cat, and a neuro­ And even if the demonstration of this impossibility should prove
physiologist observing the bodily mechanism by use of which the of no great advantage to the pursuit of discovery, it would help
person sees the cat. The difference arises from the fact that a to draw a truer image of life and man than the present basic
person placed inside his body has a from-knowledge of the bodily conceptions of biology present.
responses evoked by the light in his sensory organs, and this
from-knowledge integrates the joint meaning of these responses Summary
to form the sight of the cat; whereas the neurophysiologist look­ Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary
ing at these responses from outside has but an at-knowledge of conditions harnessing the laws of inanimate nature, being them­
them which, as such, is not integrated to the sight of the cat. Trus selves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in
L I FE ' S I R REDUCIBLE STRUCTURE 2. 3 9
DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition
irreducible to physics and chemistry. Further controlling prin­
ciples of life may be represented as a hierarchy of boundary con­
ditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and
responsibility.
1 Expanded contribution to the Symposium of the American Association of the
Advancement of Science on December 30, 1 967: 'Do Life's Processes Transcend
Physics and Chemistry?'. The first half of this article was anticipated in my paper
'Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry', Chemical and Engineering News, 4J (1 967),
pp. 5 4-66.
2 The blueprint carried by the DNA molecule of a particular zygote also prescribes

individual features of this organism, which will contribute to the sources of selective
evaluation; but we shall set these features aside here.
3 See PAUL WEI S S , 'The Compounding of Complex Macromolecular and Cellular
Units into Tissue Fabrics', Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 42 (1956),
pp. 8 1 9-30.
' The field concept was first used by Spemann (1921) in describing the organizer;
Paul Weiss (1923) introduced it for the study of regeneration and extended it (1 926)
to include ontogeny. Cf. PAUL WEI S S , Principles of Development, New York: Henry
Holt, 1 939, p. 290.
6 Cf., e.g., c. H . WADDINGTON, The StrategJ of the Genes, London: Allen & Unwin,
1 9 5 7, particularly the graphic explanation of 'genetic assimilation' on p. 1 67.
8 CT., e.g., M. POLANYl, 'Logic and Psychology', American Psychologist, 23 (1968),
pp. 2 7-43.
Michael Polanyi and Karl Popper:
The Fraying of a Long-Standing Acquaintance
Struan Jacobs and Phil Mullins
ABSTRACT Key Words: Michael Polanyi and Karl Popper, critical rationalism and post-critical philosophy,
Popper’s open society and Polanyi’s dynamic orders.
Based upon archival correspondence and their publications, this essay analyzes the interaction of Karl Popper
and Michael Polanyi. Popper sent Polanyi for review in 1932 an early draft of The Logic of Discovery.
Friedrich Hayek helped both Polanyi and Popper publish some of their writings in the forties. Polanyi
renewed his acquaintance with Popper in the late forties when Popper took a position at the London School
of Economics and they met to discuss common interests. In the early fifties, as Polanyi prepared and presented
his Gifford Lectures and published The Logic of Liberty, Polanyi became increasingly clear and articulate
in distinguishing his social philosophy and philosophy of science from Popper’s ideas. Polanyi’s 1952 paper
“The Stability of Belief” forthrightly presented Polanyi’s post-critical ideas that Popper overtly rejected in
an important letter. After this, they had little to do with each other.

I. Introduction1

In the books and essays of Michael Polanyi, there are only a handful of references to Karl Popper;
likewise, in Popper’s books and essays, there are only a few references to Polanyi. Most of the references
in each figure’s later writings are pointedly critical, although sometimes veiled and cryptic, as the following
examples show. There is an unnamed but unmistakable and acerbic shot at Polanyi at the very end of Popper’s
“Preface to the English Edition, 1958” of The Logic of Scientific Discovery, published in 1959, a year after
the publication of PK.2 Popper says he holds that only a revival of interest in the

riddle of man’s knowledge of the world can save the sciences and philosophy from narrow
specialization and from an obscurantist faith in the expert’s special skill and in his personal
knowledge and authority; a faith that so well fits our ‘post-rationalist’ and ‘post-critical’ age,
proudly dedicated to the destruction of the tradition of rational philosophy, and of rational
thought itself (23).3

Six years after Polanyi’s death, in Popper’s 1982 Introduction to the 1983 re-publication of Realism and the
Aim of Science, Polanyi is named and used as a bludgeon to club Thomas Kuhn.:

Kuhn’s views on this fundamental question [the nature of truth] seem to me affected by
relativism; more specifically, by some form of subjectivism and elitism, as proposed for
example, by Polanyi. Kuhn seems to me also affected by Polanyi’s fideism: the theory that a
scientist must have faith in the theory he proposes (while I think that scientists—like Einstein
in 1916 or Bohr in 1913—often realize that they are proposing conjectures that will, sooner
or later be superseded) (xxxi-xxxii).

61 Tradition & Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical, 38:2


Popper’s passing references to Polanyi condemn Kuhn by association. The implication is that Kuhn is a
relativist. Popper thinks neither Kuhn nor Polanyi has an account of truth that is adequate. Further, Popper
suggests Kuhn is tainted by Polanyi’s fideism which Popper implies does not affirm that scientific discoverers
recognize their views will be superseded. 4

Polanyi’s few published comments about Popper also tend to be cryptic, critical remarks, although
somewhat more diplomatically articulated. Still early in his philosophical career, in his Preface to The Logic
of Liberty (1951), Polanyi challenges but does not directly name Popper‘s views in The Open Society and Its
Enemies (1945):

Freedom of the individual to do as he pleases, so long as he respect the other fellow’s right
to do likewise, plays only a minor part in this theory of freedom. Private individualism is
no important pillar of public liberty. A free society is not an Open Society, but one fully
dedicated to a distinctive set of beliefs (vii).

In The Tacit Dimension (1966), Polanyi notes that idealized notions about science as dispassionate are currently
fashionable, and such idealizations deem “the scientist not only indifferent to the outcome of his surmises but
actually seeking their refutation” (78). In a footnote, Polanyi identifies Popper as the figure who has forcefully
expressed this view of science, and he quotes from The Logic of Scientific Discovery (279) to illustrate this
view which Polanyi rejects. In his 1972 essay “Genius in Science,”5 Polanyi points out that the “temper of the
age . . . prefers a tangible explanation to one relying on more personal powers of the mind” (46). This has led
to the presumption that scientific discoveries are tentative hypotheses and that “unless a hypothesis produces
testable conclusions it should be disregarded as lacking any substantial significance” (46). In a footnote,
Polanyi identifies Popper as the source of the “widely influential” idea that Polanyi calls “the principles of
‘refutationalism.’” 6 Polanyi only indirectly addresses these “principles,” by turning to the history of science
to show that testing discoveries is often unnecessary and may be impracticable.7

These examples suggest that palpable tensions developed between Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi.
Their accounts of science were quite different and eventually these figures clearly recognized this. This
recognition provides some explanation for their few, pointed and abbreviated late comments about each other,
but there seems to be more involved than disagreements about philosophical accounts of science. This essay
is an historically oriented effort to sketch what is known about the relations between Popper and Michael
Polanyi.8 We attempt to illumine the context in which Polanyi and Popper’s philosophical differences emerged.

Although Polanyi was eleven years older than Popper and had formative experiences as a research
scientist rather than a philosopher, Polanyi and Popper came from the same cultural milieu; both were Jewish
émigrés9 who eventually work in English academic institutions. They in fact knew each other from the
thirties and seem to have cooperated and shared some intellectual interests in certain periods, although their
relationship became fraught with tensions in the fifties and sixties. There is a small but interesting collection of
letters that Popper and Polanyi wrote to each other in the Hoover Institution’s Popper Archives. These letters
are supplemented by a few additional letters that Michael’s brother Karl and his wife Ilona Polanyi wrote to
Popper (also in the Popper Archives). There is also a letter to Popper in the Papers of Michael Polanyi and, in
the Papers of Edward Shils, there is some correspondence between Polanyi and Shils that mentions Popper,
who was a mutual friend. Together this material, when linked to some publications, provides insights about the
relations of Michael Polanyi and Popper. Although the material leaves many questions unanswered, it places
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in a living context some of the issues concerning not only science but also social philosophy that separated
Popper and Michael Polanyi, suggesting how what seems once to have been a somewhat collegial relationship
became strained.10

II. Early Connections

A. Popper’s 1932 Letters to Polanyi

Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi apparently first became acquainted in 1932 when Popper, then a
secondary school teacher, 11 sent Polanyi, a prominent scientist at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical
Chemistry, 12 a manuscript to review. There are carbons, in the Popper Archives, of two typed letters in German
from September and October of 1932 from Popper to Polanyi.13 The September 17,1932 letter makes clear
Popper is writing to Michael Polanyi at the suggestion of Karl Polanyi, who Popper knew in Vienna in the
twenties and early thirties. Popper participated in informal seminars in Karl and Ilona Polanyi’s apartment
in this period, according to Felix Schaffer.14 Karl and Ilona continued to write Popper (see letters discussed
below) after they and Popper left Vienna, and Popper notes in his intellectual autobiography, that Karl Polanyi
introduced him, in 1926, to Professor Heinrich Gomperz, the second professional philosopher with whom he
became acquainted (Autobiography, 57-58) and with whom he discussed “the psychology of knowledge or
discovery,” although he notes that his primary interest was in “the logic of discovery” (Autobiography, 59).

Popper’s 1932 letters to Michael Polanyi were concerned with his manuscript “Die beiden
Grundprobleme der Erkenntnisstheorie, I” (The Two Fundamental Problems of Theory of Knowledge, I).
Polanyi apparently received the manuscript in June but did not promptly review and return it, and Popper’s
September 17, 1932 letter requested the return of the manuscript:

Prof. Dr. Michael Polanyi


Berlin Zehlendorf
Waltraudstr. 15
Dear Professor!

On the recommendation of your brother Karl, I sent you in June the manuscript of a work
(“The two fundamental problems of theory of knowledge”, I). I assume that you have not
yet found the time to examine the work more closely. Since I now most urgently need the
manuscript, I would respectfully ask that it be returned to me as soon as possible. If, by
coincidence, you are just now reading it, I am asking you to notify me and only send the
manuscript after your completed evaluation.

I beg you to excuse any inconvenience that I have caused with the sending of the
manuscript, and now am continuing to cause with my present request for a return of the
manuscript.
With highest respect,

Vienna, 17 September 1932


13, Anton Langergasse 46
63
Exactly what this manuscript mailed to Polanyi was is not altogether clear. In 1979, a Popper book
with this German title was published,15 and an English translation, The Two Fundamental Problems of the
Theory of Knowledge 16 finally was published in 2009. Book I of this volume is on induction and Book II on
falsifiability. The title of the manuscript noted in his September 1932 letter thus suggests that Popper had sent
to Polanyi the material on induction if the early manuscript was organized like the later book. In his intellectual
autobiography, Popper says that he completed what he at the time regarded as the first volume “very early in
1932,” and that it was “conceived, from the beginning, largely as a critical discussion and as a correction of the
doctrines of the Vienna Circle” (Autobiography, 67).17 But exactly what Polanyi received to review remains
ambiguous. Popper seems to have been extensively revising his manuscript in the period in which Polanyi
was mailed a copy. Popper apparently first develops his criticisms of induction and his views about deduction
and then puts this together with his ideas about demarcation marked by falsifiability. Hacohen contends that it
was not until the spring of 1932 that Popper clearly saw falsifiability as an alternative demarcation criterion.
Popper re-wrote some sections of his manuscript in the summer of 1932. Hacohen argues that Popper’s earliest
discussions of the limitations of induction as a model for science change as “falsification moved from the
margins to the center” as a criterion of demarcation (2000, 198). That is, some sections of the manuscript
were rewritten as Popper tried to “create a new framework for a book that had been superseded” (2000, 199).

Why was the manuscript sent to Polanyi? Presumably, Karl Polanyi suggested that Popper send it
to his brother the prominent scientist for review since it was concerned with science. The follow-up October
18,1932 letter from Popper implies that Popper’s motives were likely concerned with getting his work published.

Dear Professor,

With many thanks I confirm the arrival of the manuscript. Recently I wrote to Professor
Carnap (Prague) (in a matter that does not pertain to my book), and on that occasion I
reminded him of the promised intervention with Frank by dropping the remark that you had
recommended to me that I should seek assistance from Frank.

Since you have tried once before, as you write, to read my work, I send you herewith a
succinct statement of the basic ideas (2 ¼ pages). This presentation I wanted to publish as a
“letter” in “Naturwissenschaften” (Natural Sciences), but it was rejected (with the remark
that it does not fit into the framework of the journal).

I won’t take more of your time, sparing you even short letters.

Thanks again.

Yours truly,

Vienna, 18 October 1932

This second letter confirmed that Popper’s manuscript was returned, and noted that Popper had, in a letter,
reminded Rudolf Carnap of Carnap’s promise of assistance with Phillip Frank, a physicist who Polanyi likely
knew who was an editor, along with Moritz Schlick, of a series of works by members of the Vienna Circle.
Popper reminded Carnap of his promise by noting that Polanyi recommended that Popper seek help from
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Frank. The fact that Popper confided this implies that Popper and Polanyi had communicated earlier about how
to get Popper’s manuscript some attention and into the hands of Frank. The brief second paragraph indicates
that, since Polanyi had earlier tried to read Popper’s work and had apparently found the manuscript too long
and dense, Popper was now enclosing a short summary of his basic ideas. He confided that he had hoped to
publish this summary as a letter in a scientific journal but it was rejected as unsuitable. Unfortunately, a copy
of the 2 ¼ page summary seems not to be in the Popper Archives collection of materials. But if Polanyi did
receive such a short summary (which perhaps reflected recent Popper revisions during the 1932 summer), it
seems reasonable to assume that Polanyi does know something quite early about Popper’s developing ideas,
even if he did not read the manuscript carefully.

Not long after Popper’s correspondence with Polanyi, Popper did manage to get his manuscript
(or at least part of it) on the road to publication. Popper recalled that his book was “read first by Feigl, and
then Carnap, Schlick, Frank, Hahn, Neurath, and other members of the Circle” (Autobiography, 67). It was
accepted for publication in 1933 by Schlick and Frank in their series, most of whose books were by members
of the Vienna Circle. However, Springer, the publisher, required that Popper’s work be “radically shortened”
(Autobiography, 67). Popper notes that by the time the book was accepted, he had written most of the second
volume and thus “little more than an outline of my work” (Autobiography, 67) could be published in the
pages allotted by the publisher. He put forth a new manuscript with the agreement of Frank and Schlick,
drawing material from both volumes. What Popper finally published in December of 1934, under the title
Logik der Forschung, was what he termed “extracts from both volumes” (Autobiography, 67; see also
Hacohen, 2000, 188). Popper says his uncle Walter Schiff produced the final text by cutting about half of
what was available in order to meet the publisher’s strict requirements for length. This publication is what
launches Popper’s career as a philosopher.18

B. Popper, Polanyi, and F. H. Hayek

As the Nazis’ program began to unfold, Michael Polanyi left the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm
Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin in 1933 for a faculty appointment at the University of Manchester.
Although Polanyi continued to hold this appointment in chemistry and continued to do outstanding research
for another fifteen years, his interests became broader and his research and writing was not only in chemistry
after moving to Manchester19 (Scott and Moleski, 120, 139, 152, 154-155; Nye, 2011: 145-181). In fact his
interests were already expanding before he left Berlin. On several scientific trips to the Soviet Union, Polanyi
took a keen interest in the economic changes emerging there in the twenties and early thirties. Both in Berlin
and in Manchester, Polanyi was in conversation with economists. In 1935, he published USSR Economics—
Fundamental Data, System and Spirit, “which gave one of the earliest accounts . . . of Soviet production and
consumption figures, of government regulation, and of the basis of the Communists’ appeal to the public”
(Scott and Moleski, 160). In 1936, Polanyi carefully studied Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment and
came to think of himself as a qualified Keynesian. He became very interested in economics education in the
late thirties and early forties (Scott and Moleski, 165-167). His interest in economics and the Soviet Union
was also linked to his interest in the plight of persecuted Soviet scientists.

In 1935-36, Popper, while on a leave of absence from his teaching position in Vienna, made two
long visits in England; his Logik der Forschung (1934) was well reviewed in England and this brought
opportunities to lecture in London and Cambridge (Autobiography, 85-86). There is no evidence that Popper
had any contact with Michael Polanyi in these early visits to England. Popper does, however, report that on
65
one of these visits he read a paper titled “The Poverty of Historicism” in a Hayek seminar at the London
School of Economics (Autobiography, 90). Hayek seems to have become an important Popper friend and ally
thereafter.20 In March, 1937, Popper accepted a lectureship in Canterbury University College, Christchurch,
New Zealand (Autobiography, 87-88). Popper speculates that Hayek may in part have been responsible for his
New Zealand appointment (Autobiography, 87). Hacohen suggests that Karl Polanyi helped Popper with this
appointment, since Karl Polanyi’s friend John Macmurray chaired the appointment committee; Karl Polanyi
tried “to facilitate his [Popper’s] move by providing contacts with previous New Zealanders” (2000, 120).

Popper also acknowledges that Hayek (although Popper notes he did not yet know him well enough to
ask), along with his friend Ernst Gombrich, helped find a publisher for his The Open Society and Its Enemies
(1945),21 which he completed in New Zealand in February, 1943 (Autobiography, 95). This book, Popper
says, developed out of an elaboration of one section of the expanded poverty of historicism material whose
germ was given as a paper in 1936 in Hayek’s seminar. As noted above, the poverty of historicism material
itself eventually became three articles published by Hayek in Economica in 1944 and 1945, after it was earlier
rejected by Mind (Autobiography, 90-95). The Poverty of Historicism appeared as a book in 1957.22 About
both the open society and poverty of historicism material, Popper says, they

were my war effort. I thought that freedom might become a central problem again,
especially under the renewed influence of Marxism and the idea of large-scale “planning”
(or “dirigisme”); and so these books were meant as a defence of freedom against
totalitarian and authoritarian ideas, and as a warning against the dangers of historicist
superstitions. Both books, and especially The Open Society (no doubt the more important
one), may be described as books on the philosophy of politics (Autobiography, 91).

In sum, Popper’s early social and political philosophy is developed in the thirties and forties and is published
with the help of Hayek. It turns out, as we describe below, that this political philosophy, which is developed
before and during the war, Polanyi comes to think is at odds with his own political philosophy developed in
the same period, again with some encouragement from Hayek, and this difference in political philosophy is
in fact entangled with the philosophical differences about science that are articulated in the early fifties.

In January 1946, Popper returned to England to a position as Reader in Logic and Scientific Method
at the London School of Economics. Hayek played an important role in arranging this appointment and in
arranging for Popper to get out of New Zealand just after the war. Popper describes his job offer as coming in a
cable (apparently received in late 1945) signed by Hayek who also thanked him for offering the articles recently
published in three installments in Economica (Autobiography, 96). About Hayek, Popper commented in his
autobiographical reflections on this period, “I felt that Hayek had saved my life once more” (Autobiography,
96).23

In the late thirties, Polanyi, like Popper, became a friend of Friedrich Hayek and they cooperated on
several projects thereafter. Polanyi met Hayek in August, 1938 at a Paris conference honoring Walter Lippmann’s
recent book An Inquiry into the Principles of the Good Society, which criticized collectivism, planning, and
totalitarianism.24 Hayek saw Polanyi’s film “An Outline of the Working of Money” at this conference (Scott
and Moleski, 167-168). Hayek seems subsequently to have become very interested in Polanyi’s work analyzing
the Soviet economy and his outspoken criticism of the British “planned” science movement. As Polanyi’s
lectures and publications from the late thirties make very clear, although Polanyi was a new British citizen, he
66
quickly took on a role as a scientist opposed to the popular movement to centralize science. Hayek reviewed
Polanyi’s 1940 book The Contempt of Freedom in the May, 1941 issue of Economica (New Series, 8:30: 211-
214). The book is primarily a compilation of Polanyi’s writing from the previous five years and it incorporates
the material in Polanyi’s USSR Economics—Fundamental Data, System and Spirit (1935) as well as Polanyi
essays, a lecture and review articles resisting Marxist-influenced views of science.

Correspondence between Polanyi and Hayek in 1941 led to the publication in November, 1941 in
Economica of what is perhaps Polanyi’s most important early essay, “The Growth of Thought in Society,”
articulating his liberal political philosophy. This essay is a lengthy review article attacking a new publication, J.
G. Crowther’s 1941 book Social Relations of Science, promoting “planned” science. The correspondence with
Hayek and the references in Polanyi’s article to other literature on “planned” science suggests that Polanyi was
eager to write more than a simple review of the new Crowther book.25 Polanyi’s own ideas about science and
society and particularly some of his ideas about freedom are jelling in this period. His essay offers criticisms
of “planned” science as well as fascism and communism, but these are presented in the larger context of
articulating Polanyi’s constructive vision of a liberal society.

Polanyi’s philosophical account of science treats science as one of the apparently many “dynamic
orders” found in modern liberal society.26 Particularly important in this essay is Polanyi’s characterization of
liberal society as a domain in which thought grows (hence his title) because society is a complex fabric of many
“dynamic orders” or independent, self-governing social networks or communities of practice. Some orders have
a more practical orientation and some—the ones that Polanyi seems to regard as especially important—have
a more intellectual orientation as does science. In his article, Polanyi focuses on (and compares and contrasts)
three such orders: science, the common law and the market,27 which he likely intended as representative.
The case of the operation of science Polanyi emphasizes since this is a counter to Crowther’s views. Polanyi
portrays science as a growing organism of specialized thought which engages many creative persons in its
research programs and it cannot be centrally planned. The success of science (as well as other orders) depends
upon the “mutual” or “spontaneous” adjustment of individuals in the community; scientists pay attention
to ongoing research, adjusting their own inquiries and views, as they serve the transcendent ideals in their
community.

In this essay, Polanyi first discusses what he dubs “public liberty” as a necessary component of
liberal society. Polanyi’s ideas about public liberty seem to grow out of some of his ideas found in essays
and lectures written just prior to “The Growth of Thought in Society” (1941). His 1940 lecture “Collectivist
Planning,” which becomes a chapter in The Contempt of Freedom (also SEP, 121-144 [copy cited here]),
identifies “two alternative methods of ordering human affairs” (129), “planning” or “comprehensive planning”
and “supervision” or “supervisory authority” (129). The latter “is in the first place the method by which the
cultivation of things of the mind is regulated” (127). In “Rights and Duties of Science,” first published in 1939
and also incorporated in The Contempt of Freedom (also SEP, 61-78), Polanyi connects thought and freedom:

Freedom . . . becomes necessary because the State cannot maintain and augment the sphere
of thought which can only live in pursuit of its own internal necessities, unless it refrains
from all attempts to dominate it, and further undertakes to protect all men and women who
would devote themselves to the service of thought, from interference by their fellow citizens,
private or official—whether prompted by prejudice or guided by enlightened plans” (68).

67
Polanyi in these essays recognizes the importance of mutual adjustment effected through the free participation
of informed scientists in the public conversation about things like new scientific theories. More generally,
thought can grow where there are protections encouraging the vigorous public conversations that lead to
mutual adjustment. By 1941 in “The Growth of Thought in Society,” he identifies “public liberty” as integral
to guarantee such participation in science and other dynamic orders and distinguishes it from “private liberty”
or “private freedoms.” Public liberty as implemented in society’s intellectual dynamic orders is not the liberty
an individual has to do as he/she pleases; instead public liberty is the protected opportunity for discourse
that individuals (who are serving the ideals embedded in a community) have to promote the ongoing work
within a community like science. An individual scientist serves truth by articulating new scientific ideas even
if these are in tension with prevailing scientific opinion; he/she is obligated to share new research as well as
criticize the views of others as part of the ongoing public conversation in the scientific community, which
is the vehicle through which science as an intellectual order progresses (or “mutally adjusts”) and scientific
thought in society grows. Public liberty is thus an essential element in dynamic orders like science through
which thought in society grows.28

To summarize the several threads in this section’s discussion, Friedrich Hayek was an important
friend who supported the intellectual development of both Popper and Polanyi in the thirties and forties. As
Popper’s views are beginning to take shape, Hayek has a hand in seeing that some early Popper writing best
described as Popper’s wartime-generated political philosophy is published. This material, which became three
Economica essays published by Hayek in 1944 and 1945 and eventually the book The Poverty of Historicism
(1957), reaches back to a paper read to friends in Brussels in 1935 (Autobiography, 90) and then again in 1936
in Popper’s visit to England to a Hayek seminar. Hayek helps Popper publish in 1945 The Open Society and
Its Enemies which grew out of Popper’s work on the poverty of historicism material.29 Hayek also was an
important figure involved in bringing Popper as a faculty member to the London School of Economics in 1946.

Hayek meets Polanyi in the late thirties and they become allies opposing the “planned” science
movement and criticizing Marxist-influenced economic ideas and experiments. Hayek reviews Polanyi’s 1940
book The Contempt of Freedom 30 and publishes an important early Polanyi essay which articulates Polanyi’s
vision of liberal society, buttressed in what Polanyi terms “public liberty.” The essay outlines Polanyi’s early
understanding of science (a view that Polanyi develops further in the mid and late forties and fifties) as one
important “dynamic order” in a modern liberal society. That is, his early philosophy of science is tightly woven
with his broader political philosophy. Friedrich Hayek later saw that both Popper and Polanyi were included
in his Mont Pelerin Society which was concerned with preserving liberal society and which met periodically
for several years beginning in 1947.31

III. Interactions in Popper’s Early Years at the London School of Economics

A. Early UK Contact and Collaboration

Most of the Polanyi-Popper letters in the Popper Archives were written in the late forties and in the
early fifties. Four letters are actually from Karl or Ilona Polanyi who Popper seems to have known well in
Vienna in the twenties and early thirties; after he returned to London in 1946, he received these four letters
from his friends who provided personal news, asked small favors32 and exchanged pleasantries. One letter
implies that Karl Polanyi regarded Michael Polanyi as one of Popper’s contemporary intellectual friends.
Karl Polanyi asked (in an undated letter whose contents make clear it was written in the fall of 1947), “Have
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you eventually bridged the gap separating you from Hayek in economic policy? Tell me about this, also
about Shills (sic), my brothers (sic) work, and especially about your own.”

Before Popper arrived in London in January 1946 to begin his new position at the London School of
Economics,33 Polanyi had invited him to visit Manchester to make a late spring presentation for The Manchester
Literary and Philosophical Society. Polanyi’s December 10, 1945 letter to Popper invites him “to give us an
address on the subject of your recent book” which was The Open Society and Its Enemies published in mid
November 1945. He adds that “your work has aroused considerable interest in our Society and many of us
would be happy to be granted an opportunity to listen to you and to discuss your ideas with you.” A January
26, 1946 follow-up letter from Walter James, secretary for the Social Philosophy Section of The Manchester
Literary and Philosophical Society, explained that Polanyi was away from the University, and that James had
been requested to discuss arrangements for Popper to give a talk at Manchester in late June, apparently on the
topic the “open society.” The letter from James indicates that Popper has already affirmatively responded to
Polanyi’s invitation to give a talk: Popper agreed to come to Manchester, but advised Polanyi that he “may not
be able to prepare a paper for publication in time.” James suggested that if Popper cannot “prepare a finished
paper, we shall be happy to have you talk to us on some matter related to your conception of the ‘open society.’”
Popper made the projected trip to Manchester, and Polanyi wrote a short letter to him on June 24, 1946,
thanking him “very much for your visit to Manchester and for the most interesting lecture which you gave.”34

Other letters from the late forties make clear that Polanyi and Popper were interested in each other’s
work. These letters seem cordial and generally amiable. Polanyi wrote to Popper on January 29, 1948 thanking
him for having sent two papers but acknowledging that he had not yet read them. He reported he had heard
“enthusiastic comments” about one paper from John Jewkes, a colleague and friend who was an economist.
The other paper, “Logic without pre-suppositions”35 Polanyi proclaimed to be one “which I happen to need
very much” but he had apparently mislaid the paper so he requested that Popper save another copy for him,
adding he was “undeserving of this added kindness but I assure you at least, that your paper will be quite vital
to my work.” Polanyi apparently recognized this might appear an odd claim to make, given that he had not
read the paper, and added, “but it is not unreasonable according to my view of science.” Polanyi apparently
was referring to his view that scientists rely on assumptions and what he later identified as tacit elements.
Polanyi remarked that he appreciated that Popper had “called . . . [him] by the name my oldest friends use,
because through Karl [Polanyi] we are really very old friends, and this was revived in me by talking about
you to Ilona [Polanyi]. You have been a good friend to her too.” Polanyi thus invoked their shared history. He
commented at the end of his letter that he had tried unsuccessfully to phone Popper in London and added that
he might be coming to the London School of Economics to deliver a paper in March, “but it is not yet certain.
Anyhow, I really must try to meet you soon.”

Correspondence suggests Polanyi and Popper did meet for discussions on occasion in the final months
of 1949 and early 1950 (prior to trips both took to the US) as they seriously pursued some topics of common
interest. A letter from Polanyi dated October 11, 1949 tried to set up a meeting with Popper later in the month.
Polanyi noted that he received a reprint from Popper and commented that he had “gone through your ‘Logik
der Forschung’ some time ago and shall be interested to see what principles you consider to be most central to
its argument.” Polanyi indicated that he was sending an outline for a paper to Popper to review; it is apparently
this outline that he hoped to discuss with Popper in the upcoming meeting.36 The meeting took place and was
one Polanyi found very fruitful.37 A November 26, 1949 letter from Polanyi to Popper proclaims “I am most
anxious to see you again and talk to you about a number of things that occurred to me since our last meeting.”
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Polanyi also asks “whether your paper mentioned over the telephone is available. I should like very much to
read it.” A December 6, 1949 letter from Polanyi to Popper concludes “I should very much like to know what
your movements will be between now and the middle of March, for I should like to go to see you in London
for a couple of hours or so, if you cannot come to address us here.” This late 1949 correspondence makes
quite clear that Polanyi sought intellectual contact with Popper and valued his input.38

Writing to Popper on January 12, 1950, Polanyi indicated that he would go to London to meet with
Popper on January 17 if January 26 or 27 proved impossible dates. Polanyi promised to mail to Popper the “ms
which includes the Polycentricity discussion as soon as I get it back from a colleague who is reading it.” He
ends by noting that “I greatly look forward to seeing your paper on the problem of mind and machine which
has occupied me so long.”39 Polanyi’s reference in his January 12, 1950 letter to a manuscript dealing with
polycentricity is to his “Economic and Intellectual Liberties,” an essay published later in 1950 in a German
journal.40 “Manageability of Social Tasks,” is a slightly modified version of this essay41 which was published
the following year as the concluding chapter of The Logic of Liberty.

Polanyi later notes, in a June 7, 1951 letter to Popper, that he is sending to Popper in a separate mailing
a copy of his new book. The Logic of Liberty had apparently very recently been published when Polanyi wrote
to Popper on June 7, 1951. A review appeared in May, 29, 1951 in The Manchester Guardian and another
review appeared in the issue of The Times Literary Supplement (an organ Popper was more likely to see) dated
June 8, 1951 ( 359)—the day after Polanyi wrote Popper—and in fact this TLS issue may already have been
available at the time that Polanyi wrote.

Polanyi’s June 7, 1951 letter also remarks that he was “very grateful to you [Popper] for your help
in revising the last essay. I have been able to incorporate most of your suggestions in the proofs. Without
your stimulus this essay would never have been written.” “The Manageability of Social Tasks” (as well as its
predecessor “Economic and Intellectual Liberties” which apparently appeared late in 1950) incorporate most
of Polanyi’s 1941 essay “The Growth of Thought in Society” and material from Polanyi’s 1944 publication
on patent reform (“Patent Reform,” Review of Economic Studies, XI, Summer 1944, 61-76).42

B. Differences Over “Liberalism”

The most interesting element in Polanyi’s June 7, 1951 letter to Popper comes later in the letter:
Polanyi avers, “I think we do not agree on the formulation of liberalism, but that only proves how inadequate
all formulations are in these matters as our views are fundamentally similar.” This is a declaration which
manages both to challenge and conciliate. The challenge identifies that Polanyi and Popper do not conceive
liberalism in the same way. But in the same breath Polanyi acknowledges the inadequacy of all efforts to
formulate the nature of liberalism and then acknowledges a basic kinship between his own and Popper’s political
philosophies. Polanyi’s statement seems primarily to have been intended as a diplomatic gesture which might
prepare Popper for what he would soon read in the Preface of The Logic of Liberty being mailed separately to
him. One section of the Preface seems to be an overt rejection of Popperian terminology and elements of the
perspective elaborated in The Open Society and Its Enemies: “Private individualism is no important pillar of
public liberty. A free society is not an Open Society, but one fully dedicated to a distinctive set of beliefs” (LL,
vi). Polanyi does not name Popper here, but he does capitalize “open society.” He clearly aims to re-define “a
free society” in terms of what he calls “a distinctive set of beliefs” rather than what he associates (and thinks
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his readers associate) with “an Open Society.”

Some of the discussion in The Logic of Liberty—especially that in the last chapter which Popper has
presumably already read in the virtually identical “Economic and Intellectual Liberties”—helps clarify (in
terms of his ideas about “public liberty” as opposed to “private freedoms” as integral to spontaneous orders of
liberal society) what Polanyi means when he emphasizes (in his Preface) “a distinctive set of beliefs” which
is, for Polanyi, bound up with “public liberty.” There are here in this last chapter of LL also hints about what
Polanyi found missing in Popper’s discussion of an “open society” and what Polanyi thinks is wrong with
Popper’s conception of liberalism. Polanyi says, for example, “A free society is characterized by the range
of public liberties through which individualism performs a social function, and not by the scope of socially
ineffective personal liberties” (LL 158; “Economic and Intellectual Liberties,” 415). “Public liberty” is a means
to produce a social function and should not be conflated with “private liberty.” Later Polanyi complains about
just this conflation which he likely thought Popper’s social philosophy was guilty of:

The liberal conception of society which attributes a decisive part to the operation of individual
freedom in the public life of nations, must recognize that this entails a distinction between
two aspects of freedom: public and private. Both deserve protection; but it is damaging to
the first that it should be demanded and its justification sought—as often happens—on the
grounds of the second” (LL 158-159; “Economic and Intellectual Liberties” 415).

As noted above, in his 1941 essay “The Growth of Thought in Society” (most of which is recycled
in LL), Polanyi first discussed “public liberty.” Polanyi champions the type of liberty embodied in the second
nature beliefs and practices of agents engaged in particular communities or circles such as science and those
embodying common law practices. Such agents are embedded in particular “dynamic orders” of liberal society.
Society is a network of such orders, although such orders are not all identical and the non-intellectual economic
order in particular differs from intellectual orders like science which rely on professional opinion. Those who
participate in particular orders serve certain ideals and values revered in that particular order. Agents within
a particular order are independent but have common mores and transcendent standards (i.e., have concrete
shared beliefs and habits which they put into action) which give the order both coherence and dynamism which
comes through the ongoing interaction of independent agents (i.e., through mutual adjustment or spontaneous
adjustment). Polanyi seems to envision a public conversation as an ongoing feature of an intellectual dynamic
order like science (just as interaction is ongoing in the competitive economic order) and each inquiring scientist
has a right and a responsibility to participate in the conversation. That participation is protected by certain
guarantees for free speech. Agents of a particular order thus share what Polanyi calls in his Preface to The
Logic of Liberty “a distinctive set of beliefs” which he links to his vision of a free society. Agents have, or
their actions embody, “public freedoms” or “public liberties.” Government in liberal society provides a certain
amount of general but indirect support for orders like science though institutions like universities which have
certain traditions. Government as well as practices within science and other dynamic orders preserve “public
liberty.” Each order is self-governing or self-maintaining through professional opinion and mutual adjustment,
and each produces certain intrinsically valuable social goods which support the well-being of larger society.

Polanyi likely sensed profound differences in his account of liberal society, which relies on “dynamic
orders” and “public liberty,” and the account of Popper, which projected a major shift in history from the
“closed” to the “open society.” Jarvie’s discussion of Popper’s social philosophy is helpful for illuminating this
difference.43 Jarvie argues that Popper comes up “with an original conception of the social using the polar
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concepts of the open and the closed societies, and of abstract and concrete social relations” (26). Certainly,
it is easy enough to recognize these motifs used architectonically in The Open Society and Its Enemies. On
the opening page of his Introduction, Popper speaks of “the transition from the tribal or ‘closed society’,
with its submission to magical forces, to the ‘open society’ which sets free the critical powers of man” (1966,
1). Later, in his chapter titled “The Open Society,” Popper says “in what follows, the magical or tribal or
collectivist society will also be called the closed society, and the society in which individuals are confronted
with personal decisions, the open society” (1966, 173). Still later, Popper positively discusses how modern
society has lost “organic character” (174) and moved toward being a more “abstract society” (1966, 174) and
this is linked to “a new individualism” involving “personal relationships of a new kind”( 1966, 175) which
“can be freely entered into”( 1966, 175). Popper’s “open society” is connected with rational, critical thought,
and the “closed society” is exemplified by modern totalitarianism44 and is at least indirectly linked with what
Popper calls “historicism,” which, as Jarvie notes, is “the idea that there are inexorable laws of history” (91).
Just as Popper’s “philosophy of science had rejected induction as the characteristic method of science” so also
“his philosophy of social science rejected historicism as the characteristic method of social science” (93). As
Jarvie makes clear, Popper’s polarities are ideal types and certainly Popper did not think his positive ideal of
an “open society” was in more than its infancy (143).

It seems very likely, however, that Polanyi found Popper’s general way of framing the discussion
of political philosophy and Western historical development in terms of movement between his polarities to
be problematic. By 1941, he is already trying to work out his own ideas about “dynamic orders” and “public
liberties” as the key to modern liberal society. He likely saw Popper’s social philosophy, despite its cautionary
ambience, as close to the standard Enlightenment narrative. By the time (i.e., the late forties and early fifties)
that Polanyi is putting together his Gifford Lectures and writing the Preface of The Logic of Liberty (and his
essay “The Stability of Beliefs” discussed below), he is working to pull together both an alternative political
philosophy and an account of science that recognizes the importance of belief. 45

C. A Close Reading of the Preface to The Logic of Liberty


As we have suggested, Polanyi tightly links public liberty and his conception of liberalism (i.e., what
he calls a “free society”) in his Preface to The Logic of Liberty, hinting that differences with Popper turn on
this linkage. Polanyi’s full Preface deserves a more careful consideration since it raises the larger question as
to how much kinship—despite his June 7, 1951 letter’s claim—Polanyi did in fact, think he had with Popper.
His Preface reads more like a mild mannered manifesto outlining how a whole set of new philosophical
ideas—ideas that Popper would not accept—belong together and need to be articulated. The Preface is a
prolegomena of sorts for the philosophical perspective that Polanyi is beginning to articulate in his First Series
Gifford Lectures which began May 7, 1951.

Polanyi introduces his Preface with a quotation from Kant which points out that only after wrestling
unsystematically with elements that seem to be deeply embedded in mind do we become able to see the
elements clearly and reasonably as they fit together. He then points out that over the eight years in which
the essays in his book were written, he has been trying “to clarify the position of liberty” (LL, vi). He notes
that he has considered recasting his earlier efforts at clarification in a more comprehensive system but he
acknowledges “this seemed premature.” He further explains himself with the claim that a better account of
liberty is impossible “without establishing first a better foundation than we possess to-day (sic) for the holding
of our beliefs” (LL, vi). Polanyi suggests that he, nevertheless, hopes this collection of essays “may supply
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some elements of a future coherent doctrine since it expresses throughout a consistent line of thought” (LL,
vi). This consistent line of thought he describes in terms of how his essays “take more seriously here than was
done in the past the fiduciary presuppositions of science; that is the fact that our discovery and acceptance of
scientific knowledge is a commitment to certain beliefs which we hold, but which others may refuse to share”
(LL, vi). He then notes that “freedom in science” is “the Natural Law of a community committed to certain
beliefs.” Polanyi links “freedom of thought” and respect for thought and ongoing inquiry, but he points out
that freedom is not an end in itself but a prerequisite for the ongoing work of scientific inquiry and, more
generally, a commitment to “cultivate the things of the mind”:

On these lines, freedom of thought is justified in general to the extent to which we believe
in the power of thought and recognize our obligation to cultivate the things of the mind.
Once committed to such beliefs and obligations we must uphold freedom, but in doing so
freedom is not our primary consideration (LL, vi).

Polanyi’s next paragraph shifts from discussing freedom in science to what he dubs “economic liberty”
(found in the market, a competitive and non-intellectual dynamic order). He contends this type of liberty is “a
social technique suitable, and indeed indispensable, for the administration of a particular productive technique”
[LL, vii]). “Economic liberty” thus is a means through which “individualism performs a social function” (LL
158) insofar as it is integral to the particular productive technology now employed, Polanyi acknowledges the
present deep commitment to a market economic system with its particular set of economic liberties enjoyed
by producers and consumers, but he points out that “other alternatives may one day present themselves with
strong claim in their favour” (LL, vii). Thus “economic liberties,” like “freedom in science,” are not valuable
in themselves but insofar as they serve ends in a particular domain or order of society and, more generally,
the “cultivation [of] the things of the mind.”

Near the end of his Preface, Polanyi says somewhat more directly what his previous comments have
hinted at:

There is a link between my insistence on acknowledging the fiduciary foundations of science


and thought in general, and my rejection of the individualistic formula of liberty. This formula
could be upheld only in the innocence of eighteenth-century rationalism, with its ingenuous
self-evidences and unshakable scientific truths. Modern liberty, which has to stand up to a
total critique of its fiduciary foundations, will have to be conceived in more positive terms.
Its claims must be closely circumscribed and at the same time sharpened for a defence against
new opponents, incomparably more formidable than those against which liberty achieved
its first victories in the gentler centuries of modern Europe. (LL, vii).

In sum, Polanyi implies in his Preface that philosophical views of liberty must be wary about conceiving
liberty too individualistically and too independently of the operation of particular dynamic orders such as
science and the market economy where certain kinds of liberty serve a very important but subsidiary role. It
seems very likely that Polanyi holds Popper’s “open society” does conceive liberty too individualistically and
too independently of particular dynamic orders such as science, common law and the market economy. The
conception of modern liberty in “more positive terms” (i.e., terms that can “stand up to a total critique of its
fiduciary foundations”) that Polanyi here mentions is Polanyi’s “public liberty.” Polanyi’s Preface suggests
that he thinks it is necessary to connect the project of sorting out the nature of liberty and the larger project of
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understanding the fiduciary foundations of science and of thought in general.46 This is his emerging broader
agenda as a philosopher, namely to show how belief (what he calls here “the fiduciary foundations”) is the
foundation of knowledge and to show how this is the case even in science. This larger project Polanyi later
sometimes identifies as “post-critical philosophy.”47

Work on this larger project was formally initiated in his Gifford Lectures whose First Series lectures
began May 7, 1951, a month before his June 7 letter to Popper suggesting that his conception of liberalism
differed from that of Popper. Although Polanyi’s critical-yet-conciliatory comments about “liberalism” in
his June 7 letter seem to try diplomatically to prepare Popper for his more forthright remark about the “open
society” in his new book’s Preface, it is not clear that Polanyi deeply believed, as he put it in his June 7 letter,
that “our views are fundamentally similar.” The claims—visible in the larger context of Polanyi’s Preface—hint
at the program of his Gifford Lectures. Mark Mitchell recently noted that “Polanyi should be understood as a
political philosopher who rightly grasped that liberty depends on resources beyond politics.”48 The Preface
to The Logic of Liberty is essentially an announcement that this is the case. Polanyi’s Preface, and some of
the material in the book itself, seem quite different than ideas developed in both Popper’s social and political
philosophy and his philosophy of science and Polanyi likely recognized this at the time he wrote his Preface
and his letter.

Despite his veiled criticism (i.e., a criticism with no citation of Popper’s book) in the Preface to The
Logic of Liberty and his June 7, 1951 letter’s comment about liberalism, Polanyi continued to be collegial
with Popper49 and Popper responded in the same vein. Popper’s October 30th 1951 letter enthused that he
would “love to see you when you can come to London and as much as you like.” Popper also invited Polanyi
to attend his seminar that term: “Do you think you could possibly attend my Seminar either for reading a Paper
there or for discussion? It is on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. The topic of the Seminar at present is a very wide
and ambitious one—on ‘the principles of a Good Society.’”

IV. Popper’s 1952 Letter Concerning “The Stability of Beliefs”

A. The Context of Popper’s 1952 Letter



Another particularly interesting letter in the Hoover Archives correspondence between Popper and
the Polanyi is an undated one in Popper’s hand that he very likely wrote in the summer of 1952. It is a letter
directly challenging the argument that Popper understood Polanyi to have made in his paper “The Stability of
Beliefs,” which Polanyi delivered on June 9, 1952 in London before the Philosophy of Science group which
Popper chaired.50 Polanyi’s paper soon appeared in the November 1952 issue of The British Journal for the
Philosophy of Science, which was under Popper’s editorship. This 1952 letter, it seems reasonably clear, marks
a turning point in the interaction between Polanyi and Popper.

Polanyi’s comment (in his June 7, 1951 letter) about liberalism, as well as his new book’s Preface
with both its apparent criticism of Popper’s open society and his broader suggestion that social philosophy
and the understanding of science must be recast in a fiduciary context, offer largely subterranean hints about
Polanyi’s sense that he does not agree with some things Popper affirmed. Popper’s summer 1952 letter to
Polanyi is an overt announcement that Popper does not accept the account of things that Polanyi presented
before the philosophy of science group. Given the context and claims of Polanyi’s paper, it is certainly seems
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that Polanyi used this London presentation to make more clear and more public his emerging philosophical
perspective which he now clearly recognized differed markedly from Popper’s ideas. Popper’s forthright
letter of response takes the wraps off this difference in perspectives since it boldly challenges Polanyi’s views.

The 1952 archival letter from Popper may be missing one element. It has numbered points: points 1
and 2 are on the first page of the letter; points 3 and 4 are on the second page, points 6 and 7 are on a separate
sheet and the last sheet has a closing sentence. There is no point 5 but there very well could have been in the
original letter on another separate sheet but a check with the Hoover Institution Popper Archives has not turned
up a misfiled page containing a point 5. Even absent a point 5, Popper’s criticisms are clear. Before presenting
Popper’s letter of response, we analyze the argument in “The Stability of Beliefs” in some detail since it is
more tightly woven than it initially appears. As a prelude to analyzing this argument, we describe the specific
context in which this particular Polanyi paper and published essay should be situated.

B. The Context of “The Stability of Beliefs”

The published article is representative of the epistemological views and the account of science that
Polanyi was pulling together in the late forties and early fifties as he worked on his 1951 and 1952 Gifford
Lectures. That is, “The Stability of Beliefs” fits into the general context of this fertile period when Polanyi is
reconsidering the importance of belief. There is clear thematic kinship between “The Stability of Beliefs” and
several other Polanyi publications from this period. The discussion above of Polanyi’s Preface to The Logic of
Liberty (which was written close to the time of the 1951 publication of this collection of essays) has outlined
how Polanyi aspired to link his account of liberty with a broader understanding of the fiduciary foundations
of science and of thought in general. Another Polanyi article titled “Scientific Beliefs”51 that was published
in 1950 has close affinities with “The Stability of Belief.” In “Scientific Beliefs,” Polanyi argues that “any
rigorously cognitive conception of science . . . requires to be supplemented by fiducial elements” (26). This
is an essay, like “The Stability of Beliefs,” in which Polanyi cites and builds upon ideas found in Levy-Bruhl,
and he draws upon Evans-Pritchard’s work on witchcraft and magic of the Zande.

The more immediate context in which “The Stability of Beliefs” should be viewed is Polanyi’s
Gifford Lectures. The First Series was given in May and June of 1951, at the University of Aberdeen, about a
year prior to Polanyi’s presentation of “ The Stability of Beliefs” in London in June 1952. The Second Series
was delivered in November and December of 1952 about the time Polanyi’s paper was published. Polanyi’s
Gifford Lectures argued against what he considered to be the disproportionate role that has been given to
doubt and criticism in modern thought, and—as a constructive alternative—Polanyi set forth the contours of
a new philosophical perspective emphasizing belief, faith, skills and commitment. Polanyi’s First Series first
lecture (May 7, 1951) proclaimed at the beginning, “philosophy must voice today our decisive beliefs.”52
The fourth lecture, “The Fiduciary Mode,” looked at the pervasiveness of belief. “The Self-Destruction of
Objectivism” (lecture five) outlined how, since the Enlightenment, “radical skepticism grew from the doubt
that had cleared the ground for the progress of science,” undermining the traditional virtues and liberal society
itself and preparing the way for the political upheavals and nihilism in Europe since the nineteenth century
(Scott and Moleski, 218). The sixth lecture argued that “the dangers of a frankly fiduciary philosophy cannot
be avoided,” and Polanyi called for “the rehabilitation of overt belief.” In the seventh lecture, “The Doubting
of Explicit Beliefs,” Polanyi focused on how the modern mind sharply distinguishes between belief and doubt
and attacks belief “by pitting against it the method of doubt, in the expectation that this will leave behind a
residue of true knowledge.” In fact, as Polanyi put matters in the précis of the following lecture, “The Doubting
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of Implicit Beliefs,” in doubting both explicit and implicit beliefs, there is “no reduction in the volume of
beliefs, but … an acceptance of new beliefs in place of those previously held.”53

The précis of “The Doubting of Implicit Beliefs” in the Syllabus of the First Series, identifies Zande
belief as an example of implicit belief and describes how Zande belief remains stable when challenged. The
précis outlines, and the Duke version of the lecture delivers, what is, compared to “The Stability of Beliefs,”
a longer, more general discussion of implicit beliefs and topics such as the adaptation of frameworks and the
circularity of frameworks. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that Polanyi’s later 1952 paper and published essay
“The Stability of Belief” draws directly on much of this Gifford lecture delivered May 30, 1951.54

C. The Argument of “The Stability of Beliefs”

“The Stability of Beliefs” opens by asserting that all our beliefs are held in one of two ways, either
“explicitly as articles of faith” or “implicitly by reliance on a particular conceptual framework by which all
experience is interpreted” (217).55 Polanyi contends that “the principle of doubt” has become a presupposition
of modern culture where it is taken to be an antidote to dogmatism. In the modern period, “the continued
application of doubt seems to have converted all explicit forms of faith into implicit beliefs, ensconced in our
conceptual framework, where they elude the edge of our skepticism”(217). Holding beliefs dogmatically as
explicit “articles of faith” (217) has come to be seen as irrational. The modern mind has worked to eliminate
all “open affirmations of faith” (217) as uncritical. Polanyi suggests the modern application of doubt is like
penicillin too frequently used which helps produce resistant strains. The application of doubt has converted
forms of faith into implicit beliefs whose power we don’t appreciate. It is how implicit belief works forming
a very stable (“doubt-proof”) systemic perspective such as that found in Marxism, psychoanalysis, science
and the Zande magical and ritualized worldview that is the general topic of Polanyi’s essay.

Polanyi did not elaborate here what he understood the principle of doubt to stand for in terms of
modern epistemology or philosophy of science, nor does he name its supporters. However, Polanyi does
carefully set forth his own account of the role of doubt in science. He argues scientists are cautious, but caution
is not peculiar to science: “The practice of every art must be restrained by its own form of caution” (227). He
qualifies this generalization by saying “caution is commendable in science, but only in so far as it does not
hamper the boldness on which all progress in science depends” (227). Discovery—which for Polanyi is the
heart of science56—requires boldness and there is no rule in research for deciding what is “truly bold” and
what is “merely reckless” (227). There is no procedure or rule that will serve to distinguish doubt that “will curb
recklessness and will qualify as a true caution, and doubt which cripples boldness and will stand condemned
as unimaginativeness or dogmatism” (227). Polanyi thus points out that “caution” is a notion that has built
into it already the idea of reasonable doubt: it “acknowledges our appreciation of a successful operation of
doubt, without telling us how to achieve such success . . . ‘Caution’ is a form of approval, masquerading as
a rule of procedure” (225).

Polanyi briefly summarizes a case from the history of science in which a Swedish professor refused
to accept Arrhenius’ later celebrated theory of electrolyte dissociation; the professor tried explicitly and
rigorously to apply the principle of doubt and argued he could not accept Arrhenius’ theory because theories
were almost certainly eventually to be superceded (228). Rhetorically, this narrative seems in Polanyi’s essay
to be something like a reductio ad absurdum, ridiculing ideas about exhaustive application of doubt or criticism
in scientific practice.57 Polanyi also discusses anomalies and observations held at one time to be important
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scientific facts but which are discredited and disappear without having been “disproved or indeed newly tested”
(229)—the conceptual framework of science changed so that such facts no longer were credible. He points to
the fate of research on intensive drying (to stop chemical reactions and reduce evaporation) in the history of
chemistry to illustrate his claim (229-230). What facts are relevant and of interest to a scientist, or any other
person, depend on the particular framework in which the person dwells. Polanyi considered this to be as true
for those who accept the modern scientific account (or a particular theoretical orientation within the larger
naturalistic scientific outlook) as for those who believe in Zande witchcraft, psychoanalysis or Marxism: “The
process of selecting facts for our attention is the same in science as among Azande, but I believe that science
is more often right in its application of it”(230).

The perspective articulated in “The Stability of Beliefs” is linked to a particular theory of language.
The theory proposes that each language reflects a worldview which seems to be what Polanyi dubs the “modes
of interpretation” inherent in a “conceptual framework” (220).58 To use a language confidently “expresses
belief in a conceptual framework” (220). The language forms “an idiom of belief” (220) which offers those
who use it a particular way of interpreting experience in the world. Polanyi cites Lévy-Brühl as the figure
who worked out this account and notes that Evans-Pritchard had elaborated on the idea in his 1937 study,
Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande (220).

Polanyi’s 1952 essay, of course, provocatively used this exotic anthropology to raise and respond
to fundamental questions about belief as well as the operation of doubt and reasoning in science.59 Polanyi
reports that Evans-Pritchard was struck by the conviction with which the Azande held their beliefs “against
evidence which to the European seems flagrantly to refute them” (220). He quoted Evans-Pritchard’s view
that the Azande “ reason excellently … in the idiom of their beliefs, but they cannot reason outside, or against,
their beliefs because they have no other idiom in which to express their thoughts”(221). Beliefs like those held
by doctrinaire Marxists or Freudians, scientists and the Azande are, Polanyi suggested, “doubt-proof” since
they have “adhesive power” as “interpretative frameworks” (218) They are acritically held faith-beliefs.60
For its adherents, a framework of belief underlies, interprets, and is confirmed by experience, ruling out the
possibility of adherents criticizing (testing) it by experience.61

Polanyi aimed in his essay to “illustrate the elementary principles by which a conceptual framework
retains its hold on the mind of a person believing it” (218). His strategy for showing the dynamics of all
conceptual frameworks “examine[d] the same or similar mental operations in the one case from the outside
critically, and in the other from the inside, uncritically” (218). In regard to the practice of witchcraft and magic,
Evans-Pritchard (a scientifically trained anthropologist with an outside view) could not convince the Azande
to experiment with the administration of special ritually-gathered poison so that they could recognize that it
is merely the quantity of poison that determines whether the fowl consuming it died or recovered (a matter
of great significance to the Azande in their decision-making). Instead, the Azande believed (an inside view),
matters depended on whether magical powers were properly introduced into the substance (benge) by oracles
and magicians. Thus the Azande as a people “hold distinctive systems of beliefs by practicing peculiar modes
of interpretation which are inherent in their conceptual framework and are reflected in their language” (220).
Nevertheless, Polanyi affirmed that he held as his own framework a modern scientific worldview and thus
did not believe that the magical orientation of the Azande is true (nor did he believe that Marxist or Freudian
perspectives are true). He emphasized (222) how the Zande conceptual framework (and any conceptual
framework, science included), works in a particular human communal setting to thwart efforts to demonstrate
that it is false.
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Polanyi discussed the operational powers that make conceptual frameworks very stable in terms of
several elements. First, any system of implicit beliefs is embodied in a language which meets objections one
by one; the system has “circularity” (222). Other unchallenged elements of a worldview continue in use and
undermine the credibility of any new “fact” or “experience”: “so long as each objection is defeated in its turn,
its effect is to strengthen the fundamental convictions against which it was raised” (222). Second, Polanyi
argued that each “idiom of belief” has a “self-expanding capacity”: “all major interpretative frameworks have an
epicyclical structure which supplies a reserve of subsidiary explanations for difficult situations”(224). Indeed,
Polanyi contended that every well developed interpretative framework has the capacity “to supply secondary
elaborations to its beliefs which will cover almost any conceivable eventuality, however embarrassing this
may appear at first sight” (224). As an example of the use of epicyclical explanation, Polanyi claimed that
(228) scientists often dismiss “contradictions to current scientific conceptions . . . by calling them ‘anomalies’.
This is among the most handy assumptions in the epicyclical reserve that is available for the adaptation of any
theory, in the face of adverse evidence” (228). The third power enabling each idiom of belief to maintain its
stability, Polanyi called “the principle of suppressed nucleation” (225). This principle complements circularity
and the powers of an epicyclical reserve by suppressing and preventing “the germination of any alternative
concept on the basis of any single new piece of evidence” (225). That is, adverse evidence must accumulate if
it is eventually to become a credible perspective, but suppressed nucleation limits the development of concepts
to cover instances that might accumulate and become recognized as significant.

Polanyi suggested that Western scientists reject most Zande beliefs “by discarding mystical conceptions
and replacing them by a naturalistic explanation,” but he straightforwardly questioned whether this rejection
“is the outcome of any general principle of doubt” (225). He argued that if a principle of doubt existed, it
should be “possible to detect it in the first place within science which the adherents of the principle of doubt
regard as the best example for the operations of this principle” (225). Polanyi then turned to a discussion of
advance in science, suggesting first that advance is “the assimilation of fresh topics within its existing system
and . . . the adaptation of its existing system to the nature of fresh topics; the first is a conservative act, the
second a process of reform” (226). However, later discussion makes clear that Polanyi is not simply arguing
that science consists of assimilative processes that conserve and adaptive processes by which the framework
of science is reformed. Instead what he emphasizes is that the significant expansion of an existing framework
of science (assimilation) is dependent on scientific discovery, the central feature of science: “The power to
expand hitherto accepted beliefs far beyond the scope of hitherto explored implications is an eminent force
of discovery” (226). In his discussion, Polanyi gives a series of historical examples of such extraordinary
assimilation and concludes “the assimilative power of an existing scientific framework thus appears no less
creative and offers no less scope for the application of scientific genius, than its capacity to sprout into new
and entirely unexpected forms” (227). This conclusion leads to the further question as to “what room does
such a picture leave for the operation of a principle of doubt?” (227), and this is a question that Polanyi only
addresses in a way so as to undermine views attributing special importance to doubt in science: as we have
outlined above, he simply points out that every art is restrained by caution and that in science there is no rule
for distinguishing proper caution and caution that hampers boldness in research.

Polanyi’s argument in “The Stability of Beliefs” is, in sum, one that makes a careful case for the
pervasiveness of belief and the resiliency of all systems of belief, science included. The argument undermines
the claim that doubt plays a special role in science; Polanyi emphasizes the importance of discovery in science
rather than doubt. At least by implication, Polanyi undermines any claims that might be put forward about the
importance of a program aimed at falsification of scientific theories. Although Polanyi’s discussion focuses
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on the rather exotic case of the Zande, his consistent comments on the analogous case of modern science and
his effort to muster concrete examples from the history of science is an important part of his case. Popper’s
letter suggests that he recognized that his own and Polanyi’s account of science were worlds apart, although
Polanyi never used certain terms like “criticism,” “falsifiability” and “falsification” that were primary in
Popper’s lexicon.

D. Popper’s Response

Dear Michael,

If you are interested in what I now think concerning the matter we discussed in the very
interesting meeting when you addressed The Philosophy of Science Group, here it is.
(1) The parallelism between Zandi [sic] religion and modern science is admittedly far
reaching and interesting.
(2) There are structural differences. These can be explained away, of course, by epicyclical
arguments. (That epicyclical arguments are always possible as has been pointed out by me in
my Logik der Forschung I call them there: “Konventionalistische Wendung” [conventionalist
strategies62]).
(3) Indeed, we need a faith – “faith in reason”, I called it in the “Open Society”. But this faith
consists, fundamentally, in the realisation of (2), i.e. of the existence of structural differences
between Zandi and us; and therefore in the abstention from applying epicyclical method
used to explain away these differences.
(4) If, seduced by the obvious possibility of explaining away these differences, the structural
identity of Zandi and our science is asserted, then faith in reason is abandoned. This leads
to relativism, or skepticism, or mysticism.
(6) The common basis of the relativistic or sceptic or mystic position is always the same. It
is disappointment with a rationalism from which more was demanded than it can give, viz.
certainty or demonstration where we have to be content without these.
(7) For example, we can never/usually not be certain that a certain argument is not used
epicyclically and cannot demonstrate that it is not so used. But why should we?
I suppose you will consider all this useless, and not to the point. However here it is. We all
enjoyed your paper very much and we should love to publish it in the Journal as quickly
as possible.

Yours ever,

K.

Although Popper’s letter begins by acknowledging “far reaching and interesting” parallels between
Zande belief and science, he strongly affirms that there are “structural differences.” He acknowledges the way in
which epicyclical arguments can be used to undermine claims about “structural differences,” suggesting that he
has himself already pointed out in his 1934 book how epicyclical arguments are always a possible option. But he
insists that “we need ‘faith in reason,’” invoking the terminology used in The Open Society and Its Enemies,63
and what this amounts to is accepting the “structural differences” between Zande religion and modern science
and rejecting what he calls the “epicyclical method” which might be used to explain away these differences.64
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Popper’s stress upon the “structural difference” of science apparently alludes to his falsifiability criterion
of demarcation between statements of science and those of non-scientific systems (e.g., Zande witchcraft),
and to the critical method which he believed is characteristic of science. According to Popper’s falsifiability
criterion, there are two possible reasons why the statements of Zande witchcraft could be unfalsifiable: first,
they could be inherently unfalsifiable (unfalsifiable in principle) because the statements have no empirical
reference; second, the Zande might express statements that are structurally falsifiable (falsifiable in principle),
but which are rendered unfalsifiable in practice by resorting to something like ad hoc hypotheses to explain
away empirical contradictions (falsifying observations). Popper’s comment about refraining from applying
epicyclical method to explain away differences between science and Zande belief may be meant to suggest
that he believes any unfalsifiability of Zande belief is practical and attitudinal.65 That is, Zande adoption of
practical methods that will save empirically contradicted statements from falsification by adding hypotheses
(and thus serves to explain putative falsifications away) is “structurally different” than the approach of science
where this Popper holds is unacceptable. Popper’s response is very concisely formulated—so much so that his
argument is not altogether clear,66 although it is clear enough that he is rejecting Polanyi’s case and affirming
that science accepts certain “methodological rules” (to use Jarvie’s phrase) including falsification. Ultimately,
as his final sentences in the letter suggests, he does not think his case will be convincing for Polanyi.

Popper’s last three points in the letter suggest that to be “seduced by the obvious possibility of
explaining away these differences”—to assert too much parallelism or similarity (as he thinks Polanyi does)
rather than structural difference—is to abandon “faith in reason” and to turn to “relativism or skepticism,
or mysticism.” All of these options, Popper abhors and characterizes as grounded in “disappointment with
rationalism from which more was demanded than it can give, viz. certainty or demonstration where we have
to be content without these.” Popper’s last numbered point is an assertion phrased as a question: since we
cannot be certain—nor can we demonstrate—that an argument is not “used epicyclically,” we should not focus
on (or be preoccupied with) this.

Popper was passionately committed to his own philosophy of science, and intolerant of its critics and
doubters. Even Popper’s closest friend, Ernst Gombrich, emphasized this, explaining to Bryan Magee that Popper

seemed unable to accept the continued existence of different points of view, but went on
and on and on about them with a kind of unforgivingness until the dissenter, so to speak,
put his signature to a confession that he was wrong and Popper was right. In practice this
meant he was trying to subjugate people.67

Given his tenacious disposition, Popper’s remark in his letter that he “enjoyed” Polanyi’s “paper very much”
seems overly diplomatic. This likely was not the impression Polanyi received at the London presentation.
John Watkins, in the only brief report on the session that we have found, suggests that “Polanyi was gravely
offended by the treatment that Popper, as chairman, meted out to him when he read a paper (on “The Stability
of Beliefs”, 6 March 1952 [sic.]) to the Philosophy of Science Group” (668). Popper apparently recognized that
his philosophical perspective was being fundamentally challenged by what he had had heard in “The Stability
of Beliefs.” Popper championed the “principle of doubt” in a falsificationist version; he viewed criticism as the
method of rational cognitive advance in science and in general. He likely believed that Polanyi had effectively
dismissed all this as a caricature of science and epistemology. At the beginning of his essay, Polanyi admitted
his case was “a conscious affront on my part to the critical tradition of modern thought and is bound to shock
some readers” (218). Popper seems to have been among those shocked. All of the editions of The Open Society
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and Its Enemies make clear Popper’s aversion to what he takes to be cognitive relativism (2002, 679 n. 23);
he had explained why a rejection of his critical rationalism would likely encourage violence, and undermine
rationality and humanitarian values (2002, 496ff). Popper likely saw “The Stability of Beliefs” as a harbinger
of just this. Polanyi, on the other hand, in his own view was developing a constructive philosophy, affirming
fiduciary foundations of knowledge and common life as an alternative to the critical tradition of philosophy,
which he blamed for having eroded the traditional values of science and Western culture and what he a little
later forcefully identified as bringing “moral inversion.”68 Popper was correct that his letter had no discernible
effect on Polanyi’s thinking.

If Popper’s views were, at least by implication, indicted by Polanyi’s paper, the question arises as
to why Polanyi did not straightforwardly name and critically discuss Popper’s philosophy of science in “The
Stability of Beliefs.” We speculate that Polanyi probably had no wish dramatically to upend the relationship
that he had with Popper and some of their common friends, including Karl and Ilona Polanyi; Polanyi may have
considered his twenty year personal link to Popper complicated by the fact that members of their respective
families had been killed by the Nazis. It seems likely that Polanyi would have known, from previous contact
with Popper, what Popper’s students testify to (discussed above), namely that Popper tenaciously resisted
granting any credibility to views that differed from his own. If Watkins’ report is accurate, this was the case
in Polanyi’s paper’s discussion. Finally, as we have above suggested and our discussion of the Preface to
The Logic of Liberty and the Gifford Lecture material implies, Polanyi seems to have been in this period
preoccupied with working out his constructive alternative vision to the critical tradition (i.e., his “fiduciary
philosophy” with its “post-critical perspective”) rather than laboring his criticisms of the mainstream in an
extended philosophical debate with Popper. The publication of Personal Knowledge, Towards a Post-Critical
Philosophy in 1958 finally works out in some detail Polanyi’s alternative to the critical tradition. The material
in “The Stability of Beliefs” has been integrated into the broader discussion of Personal Knowledge.69 What
his magnum opus presaged to Popper was suggested in the bitter quotations from the English edition of The
Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959) and Realism and the Aim of Science (1983) quoted in the opening section
above. Apparently Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend did take a close look at Polanyi’s magnum opus, and
perhaps at “The Stability of Beliefs.”70 Their writing about a decade after Personal Knowledge brought an
open revolution in the understanding of science.

V. Popper and Polanyi After 1952

Although there are letters in the Popper Archives that were written after 1952, most are concerned
with practical projects (e.g., getting funding for a journal) or health.71 It appears that for about the last twenty
years of Polanyi’s life—if not all the way back to his 1952 presentation in London—Polanyi’s relationship
with Popper was strained. One Polanyi letter to Popper dated May 4, 1965 comes close to addressing directly
the sharp differences in Popper’s and Polanyi’s views that both figures recognized. Polanyi says,

It seems possible that in the next few years we may become involved in controversy. This
might indeed be the best way to clarify the relation between our views and give the public
a better chance to form their own views of the whole area we jointly cover. Later decades
may also profit from it.
I hope that we would both enjoy airing our differences, if it did come to it and for my part,
I feel sure also that I would learn from it.72

81
What little controversy there was in the last years of Polanyi and Popper’s lives was largely underground.
Polanyi seems to have regarded himself as a figure who had not received his due while Popper, as well as
Thomas Kuhn, enjoyed undeserved glowing reputations. In August 1970, in a letter to Donald Campbell
(professor of psychology at Northwestern University), Polanyi confided that:

My claims …have been ignored consistently in the literature of professional philosophy


… I shall not go into details, but will mention as an example Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific
Revolutions (1962). I would say that its content largely repeats, without reference to their
origins, the ideas I have developed in my previous …books. If you have a copy of “Intellect
and Hope” by Langford and Poteat, you will find on page 161 a whole list of “confirmations”
of my ideas by Kuhn. As to the rest of this book, it seems to me that most of it is nonsense.
The reputation which Kuhn has earned is comparable only with that of Karl Popper whose
writings, so far as they deal with science, seem to me just plain nonsense. So you see …I
have been …alienated from the philosophic literature about science …What I think more
broadly about my relation to the philosophy of science, I wish to explain only to you and
shall not say it in public.73

Despite the fact that Polanyi never published much suggesting what he thought about Popper (or Kuhn), he
did write a December 16, 1971 letter to the then President of The Royal Society, Professor Alan Hodgkin
(joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1963 with J. C. Eccles and Andrew Huxley), advising he was
“strongly opposed to the election of Karl Popper to a Fellowship of the Royal Society.”74

Endnotes
1Archival material quoted in this essay is with permission of the Karl Popper Library Klagenfurt,
and the University of Chicago Library (Special Collections Research Center, Chicago, IL 60637 USA), where
the Papers of Michael Polanyi and the Papers of Edward Shils are held. We appreciate the assistance of staff
of the Hoover Institution Archives, in particular Carol Ledenham, who searched in archival material for what
we believed to be lost elements of correspondence. Dr Manfred Lube, University of Klagenfurt, helpfully
answered our queries. Staff in our respective university libraries went to great lengths to help us find historical
materials used here. Walter Gulick (Montana State University Billings) and Martin Moleski, S.J. (Canisius
College), along with Rafe Champion (independent scholar), provided us with substantive information and
advice. Dr. Evelyn McBride, a native Austrian, refined our German to English translations of Popper’s early
letters to Polanyi. Dr. John Preston (University of Reading) provided a copy of his Appraisal article (1997,
supplement) on Feyerabend and Polanyi. Professor Alan Musgrave (University of Otago) provided a copy of
a relevant part of his PhD thesis. Dr. Peter Vickers (University of Leeds) examined archival material of the
British Society for the Philosophy of Science to verify the date on which Polanyi read his paper, “The Stability
of Beliefs,” to the London Philosophy of Science group (P. Mullins, e-mail communication, February 12,
2010). Finally, we thank the two reviewers, who provided important suggestions improving the final draft of
this essay.
2Andy Sanders (Michael Polanyi’s Post-Critical Epistemology [Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988], 185)
some years ago pointed out this shot at Polanyi as part of his careful and thorough analysis of and response
to the criticisms of Polanyi by Popperians (159-225).
3One of our reviewers suggested Popper perhaps took Polanyi’s subtitle (“Towards Post-Critical
Philosophy”) for Personal Knowledge very personally as a public rejection of his critical rationalism. Perhaps
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this is the case, but, as we argue below, Popper, by 1958, likely was already very aware of important differences
with Polanyi about “critical rationalism.” Popper’s comment seems to imply that he knows “post-critical”
is a term applied to an “age,” which is the way Polanyi used the term in 1951 in LL (109). More generally,
“post-critical philosophy” is concerned with Polanyi’s affirmation of belief.
4Popper is perhaps on target in tagging Polanyi a fideist of sorts, but he seems altogether to have
missed Polanyi’s emphasis upon the scientist’s “contact with reality” which for Polanyi means that present
formulations will be superceded by further investigation of scientific successors (although Polanyi does not
think scientists put forth claims as mere conjectures they will readily give up). It is difficult to read these
criticisms of Polanyi as not a little post-mortem score settling. How closely Popper studied Polanyi’s writings
is not clear but he apparently has read some things (see further discussion below). Polanyi’s May 4, 1965
letter to Popper (Box 339, Folder 1) in the Hoover Institution Popper Archives says that he was “glad that
you have already conducted some seminars on my writings, as this will help me in communicating with your
students.” As the discussion below shows, Popper likely began to recognize by the early fifties that Polanyi’s
“post-critical” perspective was fundamentally at odds with his views.
5Encounter 38, 43-50. Quotations use page numbers from Encounter. The essay is also available in
Richard Allen, ed., Society, Economics and Philosophy, Selected Papers (of) Michael Polanyi (New Brunswick
and London: Transaction Publishers, 1997): 267-283 (hereafter cited as SEP). Stefania Jha (“The Bid to
Transcend Popper and the Lakatos-Polanyi Connection,” Perspectives on Science, 14(3): 318-346) contends
this essay originated as a lecture Lakatos invited Polanyi to deliver at the London School of Economics after
Lakatos succeeded Popper at the LSE and became more openly sympathetic with Polanyi’s views. Jha suggests
the lecture “highlighted for his [Polanyi’s] audience the differences between Popper’s position and his own”
(335-336).
6 In note 8 on p. 46 , Polanyi cited Logic der Forschung (1934) and mentioned the English translation,
The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1946—Polanyi’s date is apparently wrong since the translation was not
published until 1959). He noted that in Conjectures and Refutations (1963) Popper had modified in some ways
the position of the Logik der Forschung, but Polanyi said this “does not substantially affect the principles of
‘refutationalism.’” In the Papers of Michael Polanyi in the Department of Special Collections of the University
of Chicago (Box 24, Folder 12), there are some notes and extracts from The Logic of Scientific Discovery
(1959), from sections of Popper’s 1945 essay “The Poverty of Historicism III” (Economica New Series, 12
(46): 69-89), and from his 1949 essay “Towards a Rational Theory of Tradition”(in The Rationalist Annual
1949, F. Watts [ed.], vol. 66: 36-56) There is reasonably good evidence that Polanyi eventually knows in some
detail Popper’s views, as we show below. As both of the above noted late Polanyi references to Popper suggest,
Polanyi is aware that Popper’s views of science have become very popular. As our later discussion makes
plain, Polanyi sees Popper’s reputation as undeserved because he believes Popper does not deeply understand
scientific practice. There are other critical comments on Popper’s views in other Polanyi publications as well
as unpublished Polanyi materials.
7As suggested above, Sanders has two carefully argued chapters (159-225) that examine in detail
Allan Musgrave’s 1969 Popper-supervised dissertation which sharply attacks Polanyi. Sanders shows many
of the charges of Popperians, if not Popper himself, reflect a limited understanding of Polanyi’s philosophical
perspective. In fact Polanyi’s account of science is in many ways more nuanced than Popper’s and does share
ground with Popper on certain points. Sanders points out that Polanyi often turned to the history of science as
the arena of practice to make a case for his views. See also Sanders’ article “Popper, Polanyi and Methodology:
A Reply to S. Richmond,” (TAD 22:2 (1995-96): 27-35) for further responses to Popperian views. Others have
also provided comparisons between Polanyi and Popper’s views on particular topics; see, for example, Struan
Jacobs, “Tradition in a Free Society: The Fideism of Michael Polanyi and the Rationalism of Karl Popper,”
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TAD 36:2 (2009-2010): 8-25.
8In Karl Popper: The Formative Years, 1902-1945: Politics and Philosophy in Interward Vienna
(NY: CUP, 2000), Malachi Hacohen has recognized that there was a connection between Michael Polanyi and
Popper but he says only that “In the postwar years, he [Polanyi] and Popper would write each other as if they
were best friends, but neither thought much of the other’s philosophy” (215). Hacohen’s book is hereafter
cited by author, year, and page in the text.
9Both were non-observant and critical of Zionism. See Hacohen’s 1999 article, “Dilemmas of
Cosmopolitanism: Karl Popper and Central European Culture”( Journal of Modern History, 71: 105-149) and
Paul Knepper’s 2005 essay, “Michael Polanyi and Jewish Identity” (Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 35(3):
263-293) as well as “Polanyi, ‘Jewish Problems’ and Zionism” (TAD 32:1 (2005-2006): 6-19.
10The authors acknowledge a degree of overlap between the following discussion and their article
“Relations between Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi” published in Studies in History and Philosophy of
Science (42 [2011]: 426-435). Both essays analyze archival correspondence and use it to frame the discussion.
The SHPS discussion is briefer and more narrowly focused on issues likely of interest to an audience primarily
concerned with the history of the philosophy of science. This essay’s broader discussion presumes an audience
with interest in Polanyi’s thought. Section II, B (not part of the SHPS essay) treats the role of Hayek as a bridge
figure between Polanyi and Popper. Section III, B and C (not part of the SHPS essay) provide a thorough analysis
of the differences in social-political philosophy of Polanyi and Popper, focusing particularly on the way one
can see Polanyi’s political philosophy emerging in writing such as his Preface of LL, where he rejects Popper’s
“open society.” The differences between Popper’s and Polanyi’s philosophy of science, we emphasize here,
are not finally independent of their differences in political philosophy. Although both figures were opponents
of totalitarianism and supporters of liberalism and scientific progress, such a generality obscures more than
it reveals. Here we also include treatment of some other interesting elements (not a part of the SHPS essay)
such as Ian Jarvie’s unorthodox reading of Popper’s thought, which indirectly bears on some of Polanyi’s
criticisms.
11See Popper’s autobiography (55), which is included in Book 1 of The Philosophy of Karl Popper,
Paul Authur Schlipp (ed.), Library of Living Philosophers, Vol. XIV, Books I and II (LaSalle, IL: Open Court
Publishing Co., 1974). The Popper autobiography is hereafter cited in the text as Autobiography with page
number. Other citations to material in this volume are in parenthesis by author (unless indicated in the context)
by book and page.
12See Mary Jo Nye’s discussion (“Historical Sources of Science-as-Practice: Michael Polanyi’s
Berlin,” Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 37:2: 409-434) of Polanyi’s emergence as
a world class scientist in his thirteen years in Berlin; she argues that many of his later philosophical ideas about
science are rooted in his experience in these years. Nye’s very new book, Michael Polanyi and His Generation:
Origins of the Social Construction of Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011) expands this thesis.
There are many very interesting points in this book relevant to matters in this essay (including her discussion
of Polanyi and Popper); because the book (cited hereafter as Nye 2011) came out just as the final version of
this essay was prepared for publication, there are only a few references.
13Most of the letters quoted or summarized in this essay are from Box 339, Folder 1 of the Hoover
Institution’s Popper Archive. If the date and author are given in the text, the box and folder of these Hoover
Institution materials will not be cited in the notes or the text. Letters or other archival material not from the
Hoover Institution collection (but from other archival collections) will be cited individually.
14See Felix Schaffer, “Vorgartenstrasse 203: Extracts from a Memoir” in the volume Karl Polanyi
in Vienna, The Contemporary Significance of the Great Transformation (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2000)
edited by Kenneth McRobbie and Karl Polanyi’s daughter, Kari Polanyi Levitt for Schaffer’s discussion of
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Karl’s salon in which Popper participated in Vienna (328-346; see especially 331 where Popper is listed as a
visitor to the salon).
15Karl Popper, Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie: aufgrund von Ms. Aus d. Jahren
1930-33, Troels Eggers Hansen (ed), (Tubingen: Mohr, 1979). This version attempts to pull together the various
early Popper manuscripts. See the further discussion below.
16Karl Popper, The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge, Andreas Pickel (trans.);
Troels Eggers. Hansen (ed.), (New York: Routledge, 2009).
17Hacohen (2000, 196) suggests that the first draft is written from Oct. 1931 to June, 1932
18Troels Eggers Hansen, who edited the 1979 German version of Die beiden Grundproblem der
Erkenntnisstheorie, says that there were only four copies of the original manuscript and they were not identical
(i.e., changes made in the master did not always get transferred). Also Popper apparently had various drafts
of elements that seem to pre-date the late Spring 1932 “finished” first book. Some early materials have been
lost. As noted above, there apparently were revisions in the summer of 1932, and the drafting of what is the
second book on demarcation came thereafter. It seems safest to say that what Polanyi likely received and
possibly reviewed was a lengthy, late manuscript still being revised of the first book focusing on induction.
See Hansen’s illuminating discussion of the manuscript in his “Editor’s Postscript” in the English translation
(485-497).
19We draw on the Polanyi biography (William Taussig Scott and Martin X. Moleski, S.J, Michael
Polanyi, Scientist and Philosopher [Oxford: OUP, 2005]) here and later and simply cite it in the text as Scott
and Moleski with page numbers in parenthesis. Nye’s new book (2011) covers some of the same territory with
at times interesting different nuances; we reference relevant chapters.
20See Popper’s discussion (Autobiography, 86) as well as our comments below. Popper suggests
that it was after the March, 1938 Nazi occupation of Austria that he decided “ I could no longer hold back
whatever knowledge of political problems that I had acquired since 1919” (Autobiography, 90) and decided to
put “The Poverty of Historicism” into publishable form. It was first published in Economica (at the time edited
by Hayek) in three parts:“The Poverty of Historicism, I, Economica New Series, Vol. 11, No. 42 (May 1944)
86-103; “The Poverty of Historicism, II , Economica New Series, Vol. 11, No. 43 (August 1944) 119-137;
“The Poverty of Historicism, III, Economica New Series, Vol. 12, No. 46 (May 1945) 69-89. Correspondence
in both the Hayek archives and the Popper archives at the Hoover Institution make it clear that Hayek had a
hand in re-shaping (editing and perhaps rewriting sections) and getting published both Popper’s poverty of
historicism essays and The Open Society and Its Enemies. Hayek simultaneously is working hard (often behind
the scenes) in this period to get Popper appointed at London School of Economics.
21Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 2002, 1st
edition, 1945). Later editions of Popper’s publications often were corrected and revised. References in the
text in parenthesis (except where noted by the publication date for the 2002 edition) are to page numbers in
the revised 1966 two volume edition published by Princeton University Press.
22Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957).
23John Watkins, in his 1997 “Biographical Memoir of Karl Raimund Popper” (Proceedings of the
British Academy, 94, 645-684), provides an extended and amusing account of how Popper came to be appointed,
with Hayek’s help, to a position at London School of Economics as well as Hayek’s role in getting some
early Popper writing published (657-660). Popper’s sense of gratitude for Hayek’s help was certainly due.
As noted above, the Hayek-Popper correspondence clearly indicates the way in which Hayek is something of
a deus ex machina-like presence shaping Popper’s early career. Very late in his life, in an appreciative letter
to Hayek, Popper suggests that, although Hayek is only three years his senior, he thinks of Hayek as a father
figure (Popper to Hayek, April 30, 1984, Box 305, Folder 17 in the Popper Archives).
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24Eric Howard’s yet unpublished paper “Why Didn’t Hayek Finish Reading Personal Knowledge? An
Investigation Into the Methodological and Philosophical Relationship Between Friedrich Hayek and Michael
Polanyi,” (presented Nov. 21-23, 2004 at the Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans,
and re-presented in capsule as “A Joint Project: The Unique Epistemic Project of Friedrich Hayek and Michael
Polanyi” at the “Personal Knowledge At 50” Conference at Loyola University, Chicago, on June 14, 2008)
quotes a James M. Buchanan interview with Hayek in which Hayek acknowledges that he first met Polanyi at
the 1938 Paris conference. Bruce Caldwell notes (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, vol. x Socialism and
War, Essays, Documents, Reviews (Chicago: UC Press, 1995) in his Introduction that the conference was “to
inquire into the prospects for democratic liberalism” (46).
25See Hayek’s letters to Polanyi, 1 May, 1941 (Box 4, Folder 6) and 1 July 1941 (Box 6, Folder 7)
in Papers of Michael Polanyi, Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library. The earlier
letter implies that Hayek asked Polanyi to do a review of Crowther’s book which Hayek is reading and that
Hayek has requested a review copy for Polanyi. The later letter suggests that if Polanyi thinks the book is
“a good opportunity to discuss the general problems involved in his thesis, a review article would be most
welcome.” Hayek speculates about which issue the Polanyi piece can be published in and suggests that the
November issue is a good target for a longer review article. This second letter makes it quite clear that Polanyi
and Hayek have joined forces to oppose the set of British writers promoting “planned” science.
26Michael Polanyi, “The Growth of Thought in Society,” Economica 8, (1941): 428-456. See his
discussion of “dynamic order,” a term he adapts from Wolfgang Kohler (435ff), as well as “spontaneous
ordering” (431-433) and “public liberty” (438ff) which we summarize below.
27In “Faith, Tradition and Dynamic Order: Michael Polanyi’s Liberal Thought from 1941-1951
( History of European Ideas 34 (2008): 120-131), we have carefully laid out the political philosophy (i.e.,
Polanyi’s complex vision of liberalism) that begins to take shape in Polanyi’s 1941 essay “The Growth of
Thought In Society” but is amplified in Science, Faith and Society (1946) and the material that becomes The
Logic of Liberty (1951) as well as some separately published essays in the forties. When the material of this
period is viewed together, one can see the development of Polanyi’s political philosophy or what might be called
his social vision. We emphasize in the following discussion Polanyi’s ideas about “public liberty” which he
distinguishes from private freedoms; public liberty is a key element of dynamic orders. Polanyi’s constructive
political philosophizing is woven with an interesting historical/cultural analysis of the development of European
and American societies that comes together in this period. See especially our discussion, 126-131.
28Although he does not use the term “public liberty” in it, Polanyi’s essay “Foundations of Academic
Freedom,” published in several places in 1946 and 1947 and then re-published in revised form as the third
chapter of LL (1951), treats ideas about freedom that lead to our conception of “academic freedom.” Much of
the discussion is akin to discussions of “public liberty” in his 1941 essay and in other sections of LL. Polanyi
tries to sort out what seems to be the nature and conditions in science and scholarship in general that make
“the co-ordinative principle” (LL, 34) work.
29Ian Jarvie (The Republic of Science, The Emergence of Popper’s Social View of Science 1935-1945
[Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001]) contends that Popper “strived mightily in the final revisions of the notes to The
Open Society and “The Poverty” [the poverty of historicism material published in Economica] to stress his
areas of agreement with Hayek on the nature of the social” (89). In general, Jarvie provides an interesting
interpretation of Popper’s thought, which he presents as a counter to the mainstream view of Popper. Jarvie’s
interpretation is worth outlining here because of the way in which it puts Popper’s and Polanyi’s thought on
the same page. Jarvie argues that Popper’s early philosophy of science “has a social turn at its centre” and thus
“contains a rudimentary sociology of knowledge” (9); Popper’s interest in social and political issues predates
his interest in the physical sciences (33). The poverty of historicism material and The Open Society and Its
86
Enemies, (i.e., Popper’s wartime political philosophy) extend Popper’s early “analysis of the social aspects of
scientific method” (10). Popper did not, Jarvie ultimately claims, clearly understand that the views developed
in his wartime political philosophy would require that he modify his view of science as a model for a rational
politics in society. Jarvie argues that the poverty of historicism material is concerned with “methodological
similarities and differences between the natural and social sciences” (142). The Open Society and Its Enemies is
a “companion piece” in that it concerns “the demarcation between pseudo-social science (historicist prophecy)
and genuine social science, including social technology” (142). Jarvie thus holds Popper develops a type of
sociology of science that is a “sociology of methodological rules” (85): that is, Popper “sociologised” the
“problem of demarcation” and offers a “constitutional model” of science as a special institution insofar as it
practiced certain “methodolical rules” (84). He suggests that “Popper abandoned falsifiability as an intellectual
criterion and instead embedded it within a methodology, a set of decisions or choices about how to conduct
enquiry articulated as rules” (79). Jarvie’s reading of Popper puts Popper closer to Polanyi. In fact, Jarvie
argues that Popper and Polanyi are generally aligned in their sociological accounts of science, although there
certainly are important differences; he makes an interesting case for this in his concluding chapter (212-231)
focused around a comparison of Popper’s republic of science and Polanyi’s republic of science. Jarvie’s account
of Polanyi would be much richer and more nuanced if he reviewed some of Polanyi political philosophy
written up until the publication of The Logic of Liberty (1951). We argue below that Polanyi’s liberal political
philosophy, emphasizing the growth of thought in science and other dynamic orders rooted in public liberty,
is at odds with Popper’s “open society.” Polanyi becomes clear about this difference at the same time that his
criticisms of Popper’s falsificationism become sharply focused and the elements of his constructive “fiduciary
philosophy” jell. The material in his 1951 LL (particularly the Preface), in his 1951 and 1952 Gifford Lectures
and his 1952 paper “The Stability of Belief” (a revised Gifford Lecture delivered to the London Philosophy
of Science Group chaired by Popper) as well as the Popper-Polanyi correspondence make this clear. Jarvie
apparently does not notice that Popper’s “open society” and Polanyi’s account of liberal society are at odds.
30Hayek’s review appears in May of 1941 and Polanyi’s essay is in the Nov. 1941 Economica.
Hayek’s review discusses not only Polanyi’s book but Colin Clark’s 1939 A Critique of Russian Statistics, a
book which updated Polanyi USSR Economics—Fundamental Data, System and Spirit (1935). The comments
on the other essays in The Contempt of Freedom are brief and general and point to Polanyi’s criticisms of
planning, his interest in liberty and his attacks upon what Hayek regards as the treason of the intellectuals
(i.e., Bernal and the Webbs), popular Hayek themes. It is possible that “The Growth of Thought in Society,”
Polanyi’s vision of liberal society, was intended to broaden the horizons of some of his allies, like Hayek,
as well as his opponents. It is an essay that emphasizes the growth of thought and its rootedness in many
dynamic orders that protect “public liberty.” It is an essay that articulates Polanyi’s very specific ideas about
“totalitarianism,” whether communist or fascist, as lacking public liberty. Some of his later letters to Hayek
make clear that Polanyi regarded Hayek as a very effective trench fighter and an Austrian school economist
but not always a thinker whose broader philosophical vision he could agree with. Polanyi often seems to prefer
constructive philosophizing in which he articulates his own ideas rather than direct critical engagement with
those with whom he sometimes disagrees like Hayek.
31See Scott and Moleski’s discussion of the Society (203). Some of the Polanyi letters to Popper in
the Hoover Archives (e.g., 20 July 1950 and 21 September 1951) refer to Mont Pelerin conferences: the 20
July 1950 Polanyi letter to Popper anticipates meeting Popper at the upcoming conference in the Netherlands;
the 21 September 1951 Polanyi letter to Popper laments Popper’s absence at a recent conference; Polanyi says
Popper’s voice was needed in a philosophic discussion of totalitarianism. Some of the correspondence between
Polanyi and Hayek in both the Polanyi archives and the Hayek collection in the Hoover Archives indicates
that Polanyi at one point considered withdrawing from the Mont Pelerin group as a result of differences with
87
Hayek and others.
32For example, Ilona Polanyi’s 17 August (year unclear) letter to Karl Popper and his wife asks if
she can stay with the Poppers when she is in London for a week, if other arrangements don’t materialize. Karl
Polanyi’s letter to Popper, apparently written on June 14, 1947, discusses his decision to teach at Columbia
University rather than Chicago; Ilona Polanyi’s August 2, 1949 letter to Popper asks him to intervene on behalf
of a LSE student who has been treated unjustly by the Registrar.
33Popper provides his itinerary in Autobiography, 96.
34Watkins confirms that, after The Open Society And Its Enemies was published in mid-November
of 1945, it was widely discussed even before Popper arrived in January 1946; although Watkins does not
mention the trip to Manchester, Popper had several opportunities to make presentations soon after he arrived
(Watkins, 660).
35This is likely to be Popper’s “Logic without Assumptions,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society,
New Series, Volume XLVII (1946-47), [London: Harrison and Sons, Ltd., 1947]: 251-292. The other paper in
question may have been Popper’s “New Foundations for Logic,” Mind , New Series 56:223: 193-235.
36This October 11, 1949 letter from Polanyi to Popper is from the Papers of Michael Polanyi, Box
5, Folder 6, in the Department of Special Collections at the University of Chicago.
37A October 13, 1949 postcard confirmed a noon meeting with Popper in his office to be followed by
lunch. A November 9, 1949 letter thanked Popper for his help which was apparently concerned with a point
in logic: “It all came very much as I was led to expect from what you said. Newman [a colleague - Professor
of Pure Mathematics—of Polanyi, at Manchester—see http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/manmach.
html] and Turing declared that they could construct a machine which would extend indefinitely the production
of Godelian sentences.” Polanyi indicated that he was now thinking more carefully about the question under
consideration and, having written up his views, “will send you a copy in the hope that you might let me have
your reaction to it.” The letter ended with a comment about a projected trip to London in the middle of the
month and the promise of a phone call to Popper’s home to set up a common meal.
38The correspondence from the late forties discussed here and that from the early fifties discussed
below imply that Polanyi and Popper are somewhat comfortable with each other and are interested in each
other’s work. In his posthumous A Fragment of a Sociological Autobiography (Steven Grosby, ed., New
Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2006), Edward Shils reported that he met Polanyi in the autumn of
1946 (78). He found that Polanyi was uninterested in the problem of secrecy (one of Shils’ interests which
Polanyi declined to discuss with him) and that Polanyi “did not want to hear anything about Karl Mannheim
or Karl Popper” (79). Shils reports that, after teaching an LSE seminar with Popper, he suggested to Polanyi
that Popper might join them for dinner but Polanyi “was deaf to that. Thereafter I ceased to mention Popper
to him. I got on exceptionally well with him” (79). Although Shils does not indicate the date of his seminar,
it very likely was in late 1946 or very early in 1947 since Mannheim dies January 9, 1947. Shils’ comment
implying Polanyi wanted to avoid Popper in this period is puzzling, given the ambience of letters of 1948,
1949 and early 1950 discussed above and below. Before Mannheim’s death, Polanyi had been working with
Mannheim (the Routledge series editor) on the originally projected version of LL. But there are few records of
Polanyi’s contact with Mannheim after he signs his book contract in the fall of 1945. See the present authors’
detailed discussion of Polanyi’s relationship with Mannheim in “Polanyi and Mannheim,” TAD 32:1 (2005-
06): 20-43.
39It is unclear what the referenced Popper paper on mind and machine is, but it seems likely that
Polanyi’s reference to his own preoccupation with this area is a reference to his participation in an October
1949 Manchester conference entitled “The Mind and the Computing Machine.” Polanyi presented a paper
“Can Man be Represented by a Machine?” which Scott and Moleski indicate “drew on the ideas of Godel
88
and Tarski to show that the use of intuition and judgment, which is essential to even the most formal of
logical procedures, cannot be represented by any kind of mechanism” (215). In 1951, Polanyi published “The
Hypothesis of Cybernetics” (The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, II Feb. 1951: 321-325, in SEP,
309-312) which was related to his 1949 work. Scott and Moleski describe this essay as “part of a discussion
on calculators simulating minds… Polanyi pointed out that all our formalized thinking rests on unspecifiable
judgments about symbols and operations” (217). Popper chaired the editorial committee of The British
Journal for the Philosophy of Science at the time the decision was made to publish this paper in the journal.
At the beginning of “The Hypothesis of Cybernetics” Polanyi said his “notes formulated some time ago on
the question whether machines can be said to think may supplement the discussion of cybernetics conducted
in this Journal” (SEP, 309) and he listed articles that had appeared in earlier issues of the Journal, including
an article by Popper in vol. 1.
40“Economic and Intellectual Liberties,” Zeitschrift fur die gesamte Staatswissenschaft v. 106,
n. 3: 411-447. If Popper carefully read this essay when he proposed his revisions, he certainly would have
understood that Polanyi was developing ideas about the important function of “public liberty” in systems of
spontaneous order in society. The content of Polanyi’s later June 7, 1951 letter to Popper (discussed below)
indicating that his account of liberalism is different than that of Popper may not have been news to Popper.
41Notes have been updated to reference materials republished in The Logic of Liberty; that is, the
journal version cites the original publication information from which much of the material in the book was
drawn.
42A copy in Edward Shils’ files of a January 16, 1950 letter from Polanyi’s secretary to Popper
indicates “Economics and Intellectual Liberties” is enclosed for Popper. In a January 31,1950 letter to Shils,
Polanyi indicates that Popper has provided minor corrections for “Economics and Intellectual Liberties.” Polanyi
advised Shils that he had the only copy and he asked Shils to return the essay so that he could make changes.
These letters imply that early in 1950 Polanyi is revising “Economic and Intellectual Liberty” and probably
is also in the final stages of preparing the materials to be published in The Logic of Liberty. An undated (but
almost certainly 1949) Polanyi letter to Shils about the topic of Polanyi’s upcoming spring 1950 lectures at
the University of Chicago says “It would be easy to talk on the lines: ‘The Structure of Liberty.’ But my true
interest lies in getting my basic position clear which would be hinted in a title like ‘Towards a post-critical
age.’” It is of interest that the January 31, 1950 letter to Shils identifies Popper’s revisions as minor. Unless
Popper made further suggestions after January 1950 for revisions to “Economic and Intellectual Liberties”
(which is almost identical to “The Manageability of Social Tasks”), Polanyi’s later June 7, 1951 letter to
Popper seems to exaggerate the importance of Popper’s contribution to revising what became the last chapter
of The Logic of Liberty. All the correspondence with Shils noted above is in The Edward Shils Archives, Box
4, Michael Polanyi Folder, Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago.
43See note 29 above for the broader outline of Jarvie’s reading of the centrality of Popper’s social
philosophy and the tension between this social philosophy and Popper’s philosophy of science.
44As noted above, “closed societies” are linked also to societies with magical worldviews. As one of
our reviewers pointed out, this may have been something Polanyi found particularly objectionable in Popper’s
book. At the least, as the discussion below makes clear, in one of his Gifford lectures and in the revised version
of this lecture presented in London in 1952 in the Philosophy of Science group chaired by Popper, Polanyi
overtly links the operation and stability of Azande belief (drawing on Evans-Pritchard’s study) and scientific
belief.
45Popper’s “open society” embraces something closer to what Berlin called a “negative” concept
of freedom, focusing on the absence of restraint, whereas Polanyi’s “public” liberty is closer to a “positive”
concept of freedom. See Marjorie Grene’s (A Philosophical Testament [La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1995])
89
discussion of Berlin and Polanyi’s views where she summarizes her own very Polanyian “positive” concept of
freedom as focused on “being a center of actions, being able to act coherently and consistently in accordance
with standards that one willingly accepts, that by implication, one has imposed on oneself” (182). See also
D. M. Yeager’s “Confronting the Minotaur: Moral Inversion and Polanyi’s Moral Philosophy” (TAD 29:1
[2002-2003]: 22-48), for discussion of Polanyi’s emerging cultural critique and its connection with certain
ideas about freedom.
46The opening 2 ½ pages of Chapter 12 (“Mutual Authority”) of Polanyi and Prosch’s 1974 Meaning
(182-184) returns to issues discussed here concerned with Polanyi’s version of liberalism and how it differs
from Popper’s “open society.” That is, Popper’s liberalism and the “open society” are overtly criticized in
ways that fit with what we have outlined above. There is also another reference (Meaning, 214) in Chapter 13
(“The Free Society”) to the ways in which an “open society” is not to be confused with a free, liberal society
in which there is independence of thought in science, art and law. The material at the beginning of Chapter
12 suggests that Prosch understands the difference in political philosophy with Popper since Prosch is clearly
recycling material in LL and perhaps other sources; after the opening pages, this chapter draws on TD, 63-79,
as Prosch acknowledges (Meaning, xiii). For a more general discussion of Prosch’s role in pulling together
Meaning, see Phil Mullins and Marty Moleski, S.J., “Harry Prosch: A Memorial Re-Appraisal of the Meaning
Controversy” TAD 32:2 (2005-2006): 8-24.
47See Polanyi’s explanation of the subtitle “Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy” of Personal
Knowledge (PK, 265), as well as Polanyi’s comments about the nature of philosophical reflection (PK, 267). It
is noteworthy that in The Logic of Liberty (1951) Polanyi speaks of “a new intellectual period, which I would
call the post-critical age of Western civilization.” He notes that in this new age “liberalism . . . is becoming
conscious of its fiduciary foundations and is forming an alliance with other beliefs, kindred to its own” (LL,
109).
48Mark T. Mitchell, Michael Polanyi, The Art of Knowing (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2006):
xiii.
49Polanyi’s letter of 21 September 1951 reported to Popper that one of Popper’s objections to Einstein’s
work on the diffusion constant appeared to be warranted according to new research. Polanyi speculated about
future trips to London, hoping “to arrange to meet you …for friendly discussion of the many problems in
which I would value your advice.”
50Although the published essay indicates the paper was given March 6, 1952, both research for the
Polanyi biography (Scott and Moleski, 220) and recent examination of archival material of the British Society
for the Philosophy of Science by Peter Vickers (e-mail to Mullins on 2/12/2010) indicate the meeting was
postponed until June 9, 1952. Watkins (668) indicates Popper chaired the session.
51Ethics, 61:1 (October, 1950): 27-37.
52The only manuscript of Polanyi’s Gifford Lectures is a text that has in some sections been revised,
retyped and re-dated with some dates as late as 1954. Polanyi gave this manuscript to Marjorie Grene in May
1957, and it is now part of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library, Perkins Library, Duke
University. A copy of the manuscript is available from the Perkins Library as microfilm #222-1-2, including
an instructive introduction by Gerald Smith. A “Syllabus” for Polanyi’s First Series of Gifford Lectures,
including lecture titles, dates and a one-page précis of each lecture, is available in Box 33, Folder 1, Papers
of Michael Polanyi, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. Quotations in this
paragraph and the next, unless otherwise indicated, are from the Syllabus. As we note below, the date on the
Duke manuscript is a few days off the date listed in the Syllabus for the eighth lecture. It seem unlikely that
the Duke version of the lecture is a version later than the First Series Gifford lecture even if the date does not
agree with the Syllabus.
90
53In Personal Knowledge (1958), the book identified as growing out of Polanyi’s Gifford Lectures, in
the 1964 Preface to the Torchbook edition, Polanyi says (in the same spirit as these suggestions in the Gifford
material) that he faced in his book “the task of justifying the holding of unproven traditional beliefs” (ix).
54Quotations from and references to the essay use the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
(3:11 [November, 1952]: 217-232) copy for citations since it provides pagination. The published essay minus
pagination is on the Polanyi Society web site (http://www.missouriwestern.edu/orgs/polanyi/mp-stability.htm).
Particularly some elements at the beginning and the end of the published essay differ from the Duke version of
the eighth lecture of the First Series Gifford Lectures whose typescript, interestingly, dates the lecture as May
23, 1951 rather than the May 30, 1951 date provided by the First Series Syllabus. The longer lecture apparently
had to be cut and Polanyi elected to trim discussion of topics like deduction. But the overlap is, nevertheless,
great between the Duke version of the lecture and the later published essay. Clearly, Polanyi embellished the
later London rendition of the lecture, making the essay somewhat more dramatic by including psychoanalysis
and Marxism in the discussion as “conceptual frameworks” (two topics Popper has also criticized) as well as
scientific beliefs and Zande beliefs.
55Early in his essay, Polanyi makes clear that “I must call science a belief which I share. This accreditive
expression can be expanded indefinitely by giving my reasons for believing in science and elaborating the
nature of this belief; but it can never be exhaustively justified by statements of fact” (219). This leads to a short
discussion of the terminology used in the essay. Clearly, Polanyi used the term “belief” rather than “knowledge”
quite deliberately; he says this choice is in order to emphasize “the intention of keeping always open in our
minds a broad and patent access to the personal origins of our convictions” (219). He acknowledged that he
“must pass over the epistemological problems,” which may imply that he recognizes and dissents from the
long tradition of thought in Western philosophy of separating “belief” and “knowledge” (219). He suggested
his “conceptual reform” will “eliminate the difficulties inherent in the various theories of truth, whether they
rest on correspondence, coherence or utility” (219). He ends his short digression on terminology by saying
“this general statement of my position may induce readers to bear with this discourse a little longer, as I
proceed with it” (219). All of this suggests that Polanyi was quite aware that his paper developed views that
philosophers more in the mainstream would find objectionable.
56The centrality of discovery is clear from Polanyi’s earliest writing (see some of the essays in The
Contempt of Freedom as well as Science, Faith and Society and some of the essays in The Logic of Liberty) in
which science is portrayed as a growing organism of thought whose growth depends on independent researchers
to add to the existing ideas by their innovative new theories. Later discussion in “The Stability of Beliefs”
also focuses on the power of discovery in expanding the scientific framework (see below).
57Polanyi extends his discussion of Arrhenius’ theory of electrolytic dissociation to show how it was
quickly accepted and “its further history offers an excellent example for the extraordinary stability of scientific
conception in the face of invalidating factual evidence” (228).
58Polanyi’s terminology is rather loose. He seems to regard a “conceptual framework” as a more or less
cognitive scheme (coherent to those who dwell in it) that is rooted in a very broad set of shared beliefs most of
which at any given time are implicit and not before the mind’s eye of a person. Confident use of language brings
with it such an outlook and clearly not all outlooks can be reconciled. In this article, “conceptual framework”
is, of course, terminology that Polanyi thinks can be applied to science, psychoanalysis, Marxian views as well
as Zande belief and practice. Polanyi later works out his account of subsidiary and focal awareness (he begins
work on this in his Gifford Lectures) and tacit and explicit knowledge and the from-to structure of knowing;
such ideas give a firmer ground to notions about a “conceptual framework.” Some of these refinements grow
out of Polanyi re-casting of ideas found in Gestalt accounts of perception. Polanyi does cite anthropological
literature in “The Stability of Beliefs” and some other articles from the same period (e.g. “Scientific Beliefs”
91
cited above) and, since most of “The Stability of Beliefs” is incorporated into Personal Knowledge (1958),
citations appear here also. But the development of his own Gestalt-related account for the operation of “implicit
beliefs” and “conceptual frameworks” leads Polanyi later frequently to point to Gestalt literature rather than
primarily anthropology and accounts of language as an important background source of his views. See the
discussion in Mullins’ “Michael Polanyi’s Use of Gestalt Psychology” in Knowing and Being, Perspectives
on the Philosophy of Michael Polanyi (Tihamer Margitay [ed.], Newcastle upon Tyre: Cambridge Scholars
Press, 2010), 10-29.
59As we have noted, Polanyi uses Evans-Pritchard and the Azande in his First Series Gifford Lectures
but also in his 1950 essay “Scientific Beliefs.” It is unclear when Polanyi became interested in Evans-Pritchard’s
study but, as we have noted, Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies picks out tribal societies as typifying
closed societies. We have suggested above that it seems likely that Polanyi found misleading the contrast
between closed and open societies that Popper uses. Polanyi’s point in “The Stability of Beliefs” is that belief
works in much the same way in such a “closed society” like Zande society and in an “open society” such as
the modern republic of science.
60At some point after the publication of “The Stability of Beliefs,” Polanyi worked out distinctions
between “critical,” “uncritical” and “acritical.” What he was focusing on in the 1952 paper is implicit belief
frameworks which he would later suggest are “tacitly held” and, insofar as they continue to be used or “dwelt
in,” are “acritical.” This distinction Polanyi worked out reasonably clearly in Personal Knowledge (264ff).
61Polanyi here qualified this view somewhat when he suggested that adherents may lose faith in their
framework, sensing “that its powers were excessive and specious” (218).
62See Logic of Scientific Discovery, pp. 82-84 where this is the English translation used for the
German in the letter.
63“Faith in reason” is a major motif in Popper’s reading of fifth century Athens in his chapter “The
Open Society” in The Open Society and Its Enemies. He, for example, proclaims “the new faith in reason,
freedom and the brotherhood of all men” as found in Athens as “the only possible faith, of the open society”
(1966, 184).
64Jarvie also has noted this Popper letter which he links to his claim that Popper’s interest is in the
“social practices [of science] and that institutionalizing these in articulated rules facilitated debate” (77).
Jarvie affirms that Popper in his letter conceded that a structural difference “could be epicyclically explained
away”: “It seems that he is saying the structural difference lies just in the system eschewing such epicyclical
and convenient evasions” (77, note 30).
65It is of interest that Popper focused only on applying or abstaining from applying the “epicycal
method” (i.e., on Polanyi’s second element, the self-expanding capacity of interpretive systems) and that he
seems to take this to be the key to affirming or denying “structural differences.” Popper’s letter does not take
up Polanyi’s claims (1) that objections (such as those of Evans Pritchard to Zande belief) are met successfully
because they can be addressed one by one (i.e., the principle of circularity or the way other elements of a belief
system undermine single objections, Polanyi’s first point) or (2) that a “principle of suppressed nucleation”
operates in a system of belief to prevent alternative conceptualization and the accumulation of evidence based
in such concepts.
66Popper’s point, as one of our reviewers suggests, may be a simple affirmation of the idea that his
critical rationalism holds there is a special position, one not outside the system of belief being examined, from
which reason and belief can be judged. But if this is Popper’s argument, it is an argument that simply ignores
the issues Polanyi is trying to raise.
67Brian Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher (London: Phoenix, 1998): 231. See also Joseph Agassi,
A Philosopher’s Apprentice, (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008), 33 and 287).
92
68See Yeager’s discussion (cited above) tracing the development and articulation of this Polanyi theme.
69“The Stability of Beliefs” was incorporated by Polanyi in subsections (“Implicit Beliefs,” and “Three Aspects
of Stability”) of chapter 9 of Personal Knowledge (286-292), with some elements included in other chapter sections.
Polanyi in Personal Knowledge criticized falsificationism, but he mentioned Popper by name only once and that was in
the context of explaining the difficulties associated with defining mathematics, noting a point made by Popper in an article
of 1951 that for each significant mathematical theorem inferred from a set of selected axioms an infinite number of trivial
theorems can also be derived (188).
70There has been an extensive discussion of (1) how much Kuhn drew, consciously or unconsciously, from
Polanyi, and (2) how much philosophical ground Kuhn and Polanyi actually share. The following is a list (not an exhaustive
one) of recent literature treating one or both of these issues: Struan Jacobs, “Michael Polanyi and Thomas Kuhn: Priority
and Credit,” (TAD 33:2 [2006-2007]: 25-36); Struan Jacobs, “Michael Polanyi, Tacit Cognitive Relativist,” The Heythrop
Journal XLII (2001): 463-479; Struan Jacobs, “Polanyi’s Presagement of the Incommensurability Concept,” Studies in
History and Philosophy of Science 33 (2002): 105-120; Maben Poirier, “A Comment on Polanyi and Kuhn,” The Thomist
53 (1989) 259-279; Struan Jacobs, “Two Sources of Michael Polanyi’s Prototypal Notion of Incommensurability: Evans-
Prichard on Azande Witchcraft and St. Augustine On Conversion,” History of the Human Sciences v. 16, n. 2 (2003):
57-76; Maben Poirier, “The Polanyi-Kuhn Issue,” TAD 33:2 (2006-2007): 55-65; Aaron Milavec, “Public Recognition,
Vanity, and the Quest for Truth: Reflection on ‘Polanyi vs. Kuhn’” TAD 33:2 (2006-2007): 37-48; Martin X. Moleski, S. J.,
“Polanyi vs. Kuhn: Worldviews Apart,” TAD 33:2 (2006-2007): 8-24; Richard Henry Schmitt, “Darwin, Kuhn, and Polanyi:
A Comment on ‘Polanyi vs. Kuhn: Worlds Apart’” TAD 33:2 (2006-2007): 49-55. John Preston (“Feyerabend’s Polanyian
Turns,” Appraisal. Vol. 1 Supplementary Issue, Part I 1997: S31-36) analyses similarities of Polanyi and Feyerabend and
possible debts of Feyerabend to Polanyi. He says that Feyerabend acknowledged that he at some unknown point read
and was influenced by “The Stability of Beliefs” (S30). He thinks some elements of Polanyi’s case “prefigure not only
Feyerabend’s famous ‘theoretical pluralism,’ but also his argument for it” (S31). Preston, however, thinks Feyerabend’s
early ideas are something of a muddle drawing on several sources; his later thought rejects certain of Popper’s ideas, better
absorbs certain of Polanyi’s claims as well as those of Mach and is more influenced by historical case studies (S32-35).
One might also include Imre Lakatos in this group. Stephania Jha’s 2006 essay cited above (note 5) treats in some detail
links between Polanyi and Lakatos. See also Richard Schmitt’s TAD review (34:1 [2007-2008]: 51-53 of the Jha essay
and the full issue of Perspectives on Science devoted to Lakatos’ thought.
71Clearly some cooperation and concern continued between Polanyi and Popper. One of the most interesting small
projects was Polanyi’s unsuccessful effort to recruit Joseph Agassi, a member of Popper’s circle, to come to Manchester
in the mid-fifties. In Polanyi’s letter to Popper of December 9,1954, he notes, “I am writing to Agassi to tell him that I am
still as keen as ever to proceed with the project of getting him to Manchester next year.” Agassi later makes clear that he
was a critical admirer of Polanyi’s thought; he dedicated his 1981 essay-collection, Science and Society (Dordrecht: D.
Reidel), “to the memory of Michael Polanyi” (xx). See also Agassi’s more recent comments (A Philosopher’s Apprentice
[Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008], where he declares Polanyi and Popper the “two greatest and clearest philosophers of the
mid-twentieth century” (143). He comments later that “the dedication of my Science and Society to his [Polanyi’s] memory
is expiation to some extent,” noting that Polanyi “was a model gentleman, a truly open person” who offered him “an
assistantship before Popper did” and “wanted me to help him as he put his celebrated Personal Knowledge (sic) in its final
shape” (179).
72Jha’s 2006 article (cited above) treating Lakatos’ “Polanyian turn” (342) points out that this Polanyi letter
was written after Popper instructed Lakatos to “dis-invite Polanyi” (329) to a 1965 symposium that Lakatos organized to
discuss Popper and Kuhn’s views. Jha argues Lakatos’ attempt to include Polanyi indicated that Lakatos “wanted an open
debate between them” (331).
73Moleski kindly drew our attention to this letter (Box 8: Folder 13, Papers of Michael Polanyi, Special
Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library) and advised that Polanyi opposed Popper’s election to the
Royal Society (see below).
74Box 10, Folder 6, Papers of Michael Polanyi, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago
Library.

93
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/shpsa

Relations between Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi


Struan Jacobs a, Phil Mullins b
a
Faculty of Arts, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3217, Australia
b
History, Philosophy and Geography, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO 64507, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi grew up in central Europe and, having escaped from Nazism, went on to
Received 14 April 2010 pursue academic careers in Britain where they wrote prolifically on science and politics. Popper and Pola-
Received in revised form 5 September 2010 nyi corresponded with each other, and met for discussions in the late 1940s and early 50s, but they sel-
Available online 11 April 2011
dom referred to each other in their publications. This article examines their correspondence so as to
produce a picture of their intellectual relations. The most important of the letters was one that Popper
Keywords: wrote in 1952, which we reproduce in its entirety, indicating his dissatisfaction with ideas that Polanyi
Science
had expressed in a paper of that year, ‘The Stability of Beliefs’. In this paper, Polanyi used the example of
Reason
Criticism
the framework of Zande witchcraft to shed analogical light on science and other systems of belief, arguing
Belief that ‘frameworks of belief’ equip their adherents with intellectual powers whose use reinforces commit-
Epistemology ment to the framework, inoculating adherents against criticism. Polanyi’s 1952 paper and his 1951 and
Karl Popper 1952 Gifford Lectures (to which that paper is intimately tied) are the first articulation of Polanyi’s sharp
Michael Polanyi rejection of the modern critical philosophical tradition that by implication included Popper’s philosoph-
ical ideas. The 1952 paper is also part of Polanyi’s constructive philosophical effort to set forth a fiduciary
philosophy emphasizing commitment. Popper regarded Polanyi’s position as implying cognitive relativ-
ism and irrationalism, and from the time of Polanyi’s 1952 paper their personal relationship became
strained. Discord between them became publicly manifest when Polanyi subtitled his book Personal
Knowledge (1958), Towards a post-critical philosophy, and Popper lambasted the idea of a ‘post-critical’
philosophy in his Preface in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959).
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

When citing this paper, please use the full journal title Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

1. Introduction views in some detail. The Michael Polanyi Papers (Box 24, Folder
12, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Li-
Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) and Karl Popper (1902–1994) brary, Chicago, IL 60637, USA), contain notes by him on, and ex-
grew up in central Europe (in Budapest and Vienna respectively) tracts from, sections of Popper’s ‘The Poverty of Historicism III’
in the twilight years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Popper, (1945), ‘Towards a Rational Theory of Tradition’ (1949), and The Lo-
1974; Scott & Moleski, 2005). Both were of Jewish descent but gic of Scientific Discovery (1959). Popper mentioned Polanyi once in
were non-observant and rejected Zionism.1 After escaping Nazism, ‘The Poverty of Historicism, II’ (1944, p. 119), citing Polanyi’s essay,
they became professors in Britain and developed important ideas on ‘The Growth of Thought in Society’ (1941), as supporting ‘pure’ sci-
science and on politics. ence and opposing ‘planned’ science. Thereafter, it would appear,
Each man wrote prolifically, but seldom mentioned the writings Polanyi was never mentioned by Popper in print for another 30
of the other in his publications. Polanyi never mentioned Popper in years.
any publication before Personal Knowledge (1958), although the Of the Polanyis, it was Michael’s brother, Karl, with whom Pop-
evidence in our discussion indicates that he came to know Popper’s per had more contact in the 1920s and early 30s. (Karl Polanyi

E-mail addresses: swjacobs@deakin.edu.au (S. Jacobs), mullins@missouriwestern.edu (P. Mullins)


1
On this topic, see especially Hacohen (1999, pp. 132, 134), and Knepper (2005, 2005–2006).

0039-3681/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.09.001
S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435 427

gained renown as the author of The Great Transformation: The Polit- I vermute, dass Sie noch nicht die Zeit fanden, die Arbeit näher
ical and Economic Origins of Our Time (1944).) Felix Schaffer (2000, zu prüfen. Da ich nun das Manuskript dringendst brauche, bitte
pp. 255–328; Congdon, 1991, p. 261) recalled that Popper was a ich Sie höflichst, es mir sobald als irgend möglich zurückzusen-
participant in informal seminars that Karl Polanyi led in the apart- den. Sollten Sie zufällig gerade in seiner Lektüre begriffen sein,
ment in Vienna in which he and his wife, Ilona, lived. Popper (1974, so würde ich Sie bitten, mich zu verständigen und das Manusk-
p. 14) wrote that, ‘in the early 1920s,’ Karl Polanyi had convinced ript erst nach abgeschlossener Prüfung zu senden.
him that what he ‘described as ‘‘methodological nominalism’’ I bitte Sie, alle Ungelegenheiten zu entschuldigen, die ich
was characteristic of the natural sciences but not of the social sci- Ihnen durch die Uebersendung des Manuskripts bereitet habe
ences’. ‘Methodological nominalism’ signified an attitude that Pop- und durch die gegenwärtige Bitte um Rücksendung noch weiter
per (1974, p. 12) adopted early in his career: ‘Never let yourself be bereite.
goaded into taking seriously problems about words and their Mit vorzüglicher Hochachtung
meanings. What must be taken seriously are questions of fact, Wien, 17. September 1932.
and assertions about facts: theories and hypotheses; the problems 13., Anton Langergasse 46.
they solve; and the problems they raise’. Popper (1974, p. 59) also
In English, the letter reads as follows:
noted that Karl Polanyi had introduced him to Professor Heinrich
Gomperz at Vienna’s Pedagogic Institute (1926) with whom Pop- Prof. Dr. Michael Polanyi,
per had discussions concerning ‘the psychology of knowledge or Berlin—Zehlondorf,
discovery’. Waltraudstr. 15.
This article sheds light on the neglected subject of relations be- Dear Professor!
tween Popper and Michael Polanyi.2 Although their paucity of refer- On the recommendation of your brother Karl, I sent you in June
ences to each other suggests this is not a promising topic for the manuscript of a work (‘‘The two fundamental problems of
investigation, there survives an interesting, little known correspon- theory of knowledge’’, I). I assume that you have not yet found
dence between Popper and Polanyi, and the present article draws the time to examine the work more closely. Since I now most
from this (and some other) correspondence, supplemented by con- urgently need the manuscript, I would respectfully ask that it
sideration of certain pertinent publications of each man, to illumi- be returned to me as soon as possible. If, by coincidence, you
nate the intellectual relations that existed between them. Most of are just now reading it, I am asking you to notify me and only
the letters that we use, including some that we partly or wholly send the manuscript after your completed evaluation.
reproduce, are in the Popper Collection in the Hoover Institution Ar- I beg you to excuse any inconvenience that I have caused with
chives.3 Some of these letters are quite mundane, arranging meet- the sending of the manuscript, and now am continuing to cause
ings or addressing other daily business, but there are a few— with my present request for a return of the manuscript.
particularly later letters—that touch on fundamental issues that With highest respect,
surely (and sorely) strained what had been a cordial personal rela- Vienna, 17. September 1932.
tionship between the two men. 13., Anton Langergasse 46.
As this letter indicates, Popper had been encouraged by Karl
2. Popper’s 1932 letters to Polanyi Polanyi to send a copy of his manuscript, ‘‘‘Die beiden Grundprob-
leme der Erkenntnistheorie’’, I,’ to Polanyi for review and Polanyi
The earliest indication that Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi apparently had received the manuscript in June of 1932. In 1979,
knew (or knew of) each other goes back to 1932. In the Hoover a Popper book with this title was published in German, and in
Institution Popper Collection, there are carbons of two typed let- 2009 it appeared in English translation as The Two Fundamental
ters in German from Popper to Polanyi. Popper (1974, p. 55) was Problems of the Theory of Knowledge. The volume has two parts:
at this time a secondary school teacher in Vienna and Polanyi a Book I on induction and Book II on demarcation. Popper’s use of
highly regarded scientist in Berlin at the prestigious Kaiser Wil- the Roman numeral I in the title of the manuscript given in the
helm Institute for Physical Chemistry.4 1932 letter suggests that it was the book on induction that he
Herrn Prof. Dr. Michael Polanyi, had sent to Polanyi.5 Popper (1974, p. 67) explained that he com-
Berlin—Zehlondorf, pleted the first book ‘very early in 1932,’ and that it was ‘conceived,
Waltraudstr. 15. from the beginning, largely as a critical discussion and as a correc-
Sehr geehrter Herr Professor! tion of the doctrines of the Vienna Circle’.6 Since he was criticizing
Durch Vermittlung Ihres Bruders Karl übersandte Ich Ihnen im positivism, Popper sought what Hacohen (2000, p. 215) terms ‘antip-
Juni das Manuskript einer Arbeit (‘‘Die beiden Grundprobleme ositivist channels as avenues to publication,’ and sending the manu-
der Erkenntnistheorie’’, I). script to Polanyi apparently was part of this antipositivist strategy.

2
The present authors are aware of comparisons of the thought of Popper and Michael Polanyi, (including, but not exhausted by, Agassi (1981); Sanders (1988, 1995–1996),
Misiek (1995), Richmond (1994), Sheppard (1999), Jarvie (2001a, 2001b) and Jacobs (2009–2010)), but know of no sustained examination of their personal dealings with each
other. Hacohen (2000, p. 215) has recognized that there was a connection between Michael Polanyi and Popper but he says only that ‘In postwar years, he [Polanyi] and Popper
would write each other as if they were best friends, but neither thought much of the other’s philosophy’.
3
Most of the letters quoted in this essay are from Box 339, Folder 1 in the Sir Karl Popper Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. All letters or
other archival material not from the Sir Karl Popper Collection will be cited individually.
4
See Nye’s discussion (2007, pp. 409–434) of Polanyi’s emergence as a world-class scientist in his thirteen years in Berlin. Nye considers that many of Polanyi’s later
philosophical ideas about science are rooted in his experience in these years.
5
Exactly what Polanyi received to review remains ambiguous. Popper apparently first developed his criticisms of induction and his views about deduction and later put this
together with his notion about science as demarcated by falsifiability. Hacohen argues that it was not until the spring of 1932 that Popper came clearly to see falsifiability as an
alternative demarcation criterion of science to induction. Popper rewrote some sections of his manuscript in the summer of 1932, which would have been after he had sent the
manuscript to Polanyi. We can infer from Hacohen that Popper’s earliest discussions of the limitations of induction as a model for science changed in the very period that Polanyi
had the manuscript (summer of 1932) as ‘falsifiability moved from margins to center’ as a criterion of demarcation (Hacohen, 2000, p. 198). That is, some sections of the
manuscript were rewritten in the summer of 1932 as Popper ‘tried to create a new framework for a book that had been superseded’ (Hacohen, 2000, p. 199).
6
Hacohen (2000, p. 196) suggests that the first draft was written from October 1931 to June 1932.
428 S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435

In a second letter to Polanyi, produced (18 October 1932) about Popper was now enclosing a 2 14 page summary of his basic ideas.
a month after the first letter, Popper wrote: He confided that he had hoped to see this summary published as
a letter in a scientific journal but it had been rejected as
Sehr geehrter Herr Professor!
unsuitable.7
Mit vielem Dank bestätige ich das Eintreffen des Manuskripts.—
The episode drew to a close in 1932 or 1933. Popper (1974, p.
Ich habe dieser Tage an Professor Carnap (Prag) (in einer nicht
67) recalled that what he then regarded as the first volume was
mein Buch betreffenden Angelegenheit) geschrieben und ihn
‘read first by Feigl, and then by Carnap, Schlick, Frank, Hahn, Neu-
bei dieser Gelegenheit an die zugesagte Intervention bei Frank
rath, and other members of the Circle; and also by Gomperz.’
durch die Bemerkung erinnert, dass Sie mir empfohlen hatten,
Popper’s ts. was accepted for publication in 1933 by Schlick and
mich an Frank zu wenden.—
Frank, but their publisher demanded that it be foreshortened. In
Da Sie nun schon einmal, wie Sie schreiben, versucht haben,
the interim Popper wrote the second part of the same volume,
meine Arbeit zu lesen, so schicke ich Ihnen beiliegend eine Dar-
focusing more directly on falsifiability. What Popper (1974, p.
stellung der Grundgedanken in knappester Form (2 14 Seiten).
67; Hacohen, 2000, p. 188) finally published in December of
Diese Darstellung wollte ich als ‘‘Zuschrift’’ in den ‘‘Naturwis-
1934, under the title Logik der Forschung, was what he termed ‘ex-
senschaften’’ veröffentlichen, sie wurde aber abgewiesen (mit
tracts from both volumes’ to meet the publisher’s strict require-
der Bemerkung, dass sie nicht in den Rahmen der Zeitschrift
ments for length.8
passt).
Ich werde weiter Ihre Zeit nicht mehr in Anspruch nehmen
und Sie (auch mit kurzen) Zuschriften verschonen! 3. 1946–1951
Mit nochmaligem Dank
Ihr Most of the extant letters between Polanyi and Popper were
Wien, den 18. Oktober 1932. written in the late 1940s and the early 50s. Polanyi had become
a professor of chemistry at Manchester University in 1933. Pop-
Dear Professor,
per’s (1974, pp. 85–86) Logik der Forschung, published in 1934,
With many thanks I confirm the arrival of the manuscript.
had been well received in England, and led him to make two long
Recently I wrote to Professor Carnap (Prague) (in a matter that
visits to England in 1935 and 1936, including lectures that he gave
does not pertain to my book), and on that occasion I reminded
at Cambridge and in London. In 1937, an opportunity to escape
him of the promised intervention with Frank by dropping the
from the oppressiveness in Austria presented itself to Popper
remark that you had recommended to me that I should seek
(1974, pp. 87–88), taking up the offer of a lectureship in Canter-
assistance from Frank.
bury University College, Christchurch, New Zealand.9 There Popper
Since you have tried once before, as you write, to read my
wrote ‘The Poverty of Historicism,’ published in 1944–1945 in three
work, I send you herewith a succinct statement of the basic
installments in the journal Economica, under Friedrich Hayek’s edi-
ideas (2 14 pages). This presentation I wanted to publish as a ‘‘let-
torship, and his The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). These works
ter’’ in ‘‘Naturwissenschaften’’ [Natural Sciences], but it was
Popper (1974, p. 91) counted as his ‘war effort,’ including ‘a defence
rejected (with the remark that it does not fit into the framework
of freedom against totalitarian and authoritarian ideas, and . . . a
of the journal).
warning against the dangers of historicist superstitions’. In January
I won’t take more of your time, sparing you even short letters.
1946 he was appointed as Reader in Logic and Scientific Method at
Thanks again.
The London School of Economics.
Yours truly,
Four letters in the Hoover Institution Popper Collection written
Vienna, 18 October 1932.
in the late forties were from Karl or Ilona Polanyi to Popper. The
Popper’s second letter confirmed that his manuscript had ar- letters indicate that the congenial relations that Popper had typi-
rived, and the letter added that he had been in touch with Rudolf cally enjoyed with Karl and Ilona Polanyi in Vienna in the twenties
Carnap, reminding Carnap of his promise to seek assistance from and early thirties resumed after his return from New Zealand.
Frank in getting Popper’s’ ‘‘Die beiden Grundprobleme der These letters primarily discussed events of daily life, including
Erkenntnistheorie’’’, I’ published, Frank being an editor along with small requests of the sort that friends make of one another,10 and
Moritz Schlick of a series of publications by members of the Vienna in one of the letters (whose contents make clear it was written in
Circle. Reminding Carnap of his promise, Popper mentioned that the fall of 1947), Karl Polanyi interestingly inquired: ‘Have you even-
Polanyi had advised Popper to seek help from Frank. Clearly, Pop- tually bridged the gap separating you from Hayek in economic pol-
per and Polanyi had communicated earlier about how to get Pop- icy? Tell me about this, also about Shills [sic], my brothers [sic]
per’s manuscript some attention and into the hands of Frank work, and especially about your own’.
whom Polanyi likely knew. The brief second paragraph of Popper’s Even before Popper had arrived in London to take up his
letter indicated that, since Polanyi had earlier tried to read Popper’s appointment at The LSE, Michael Polanyi invited him to visit Man-
work and had apparently found its length and content forbidding, chester to make a presentation. A January 26, 1946 letter from

7
Unfortunately, a copy of the 2 14 page summary was not filed by Popper with his copy of this letter. But if Polanyi did receive the summary (which perhaps reflected recent
Popper revisions during the summer), he would have known something about Popper’s developing ideas even if he had not read the long ts. carefully.
8
Troels Eggers Hansen who edited the 1979 German version of Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie, understands that there were four copies of the original ts. and
they were not identical (i.e., changes made in the master did not always get transferred). Also Popper apparently had various drafts of elements that pre-dated the late spring
1932 ‘finished’ first book. As noted above, there were revisions in summer, 1932, and the drafting of what is the second book (on demarcation and falsifiability) came thereafter. It
seems safest to say that what Polanyi had received and possibly reviewed was a lengthy, late manuscript still being revised of the first book focusing on induction. See Hansen’s
(2009, pp. 485–497) illuminating discussion of the manuscript in his ‘Editor’s Postscript’ in the English translation.
9
Hacohen (2000, pp. 119–120) notes that Popper believed Karl Polanyi had not put himself out to help find a publisher for Grundprobleme, but Polanyi seems to have redeemed
himself in Popper’s eyes by assisting with his application for the lectureship in New Zealand. Karl Polanyi’s friend John Macmurray chaired the appointment committee, and
Polanyi tried ‘to facilitate his [Popper’s] move by providing contacts with previous New Zealanders’.
10
For example, Ilona Polanyi’s 17 August (year unclear) letter to Karl Popper and his wife asked if she could stay with the Poppers when she visited London for a week, if other
arrangements did not materialize. Karl Polanyi’s letter to Popper, apparently written on June 14, 1947, discussed his decision to teach at Columbia University rather than Chicago.
Ilona’s August 2, 1949 letter to Popper asked for him to intervene on behalf of a LSE student who, it was believed, had been treated unjustly by the Registrar.
S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435 429

Walter James, secretary for the Social Philosophy Section of The the month. Polanyi noted that he had received a reprint from Pop-
Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, explained that per, and commented that he had ‘gone through your ‘‘Logik der
Polanyi was away from the University, and that James had been re- Forschung’’ some time ago and shall be interested to see what prin-
quested to discuss arrangements for Popper to give the talk at ciples you consider to be most central to its argument’. Polanyi
Manchester in late June, apparently on the topic the ‘open society’. indicated that he was sending an outline for a paper to Popper to
The letter made clear that Popper had agreed to come to Manches- review (it may have been this outline that he hoped to discuss with
ter, but had advised Polanyi that he ‘may not be able to prepare a Popper in an upcoming meeting).12 The meeting proved particularly
paper for publication in time’. James suggested that even if Popper helpful to Polanyi.13 His 26 November 1949 letter to Popper ex-
were unable to ‘prepare a finished paper, we shall be happy to have claimed ‘I am most anxious to see you again and talk to you about
you talk to us on some matter related to your conception of the a number of things that occurred to me since our last meeting’. Pola-
‘‘open society’’’. Popper made the projected trip to Manchester, nyi also wondered ‘whether your paper mentioned over the tele-
and Polanyi wrote a short letter on June 24, 1946, thanking Popper phone is available. I should like very much to read it’. A 6
‘very much for your visit . . . and for the most interesting lecture December 1949 letter from Polanyi to Popper concluded, ‘I should
which you gave’. very much like to know what your movements will be between
Other letters from the late 1940s show that Polanyi and Popper now and the middle of March, for I should like to go to see you in
continued to take an interest in each other’s work. The letters are London for a couple of hours or so, if you cannot come to address
amiable in tone. On 29 January 1948, Polanyi wrote to Popper, us here’. The correspondence at this time makes quite clear that
thanking him for having sent two Popper papers. As yet he had Polanyi sought intellectual contact with Popper and valued his input.
not had an opportunity to read them. About one, he reported he Writing to Popper on 12 January 1950, Polanyi indicated that he
had heard ‘enthusiastic comments’ from his colleague at Manches- would go to London to meet with him on January 17 if January 26
ter, the economist John Jewkes. Polanyi advised that the other pa- or 27 proved impossible. Polanyi promised to mail to Popper the
per, ‘Logic without pre-suppositions,’11 is one ‘which I happen to ‘ms which includes the Polycentricity discussion as soon as I get
need very much,’ but Polanyi had apparently misplaced it so he re- it back from a colleague who is reading it’. He ended by noting that
quested that Popper send another copy to him. He added that he ‘I greatly look forward to seeing your paper on the problem of mind
was ‘undeserving of this added kindness but I assure you at least, and machine which has occupied me so long’.14 Polanyi’s ‘Polycen-
that your paper will be quite vital to my work’. Polanyi appreciated tricity discussion’ was a manuscript titled ‘Economic and Intellectual
this might sound like an odd claim to make, given that he had yet to Liberties’ (1950), a slightly modified version of which—‘Manageabil-
read the paper, ‘but it is not unreasonable according to my view of ity of Social Tasks’—appeared as the concluding chapter of Polanyi’s
science,’ alluding to his notion that scientists rely on assumptions book The Logic of Liberty (1951). Polanyi sent Popper a copy of the
and on intuitive surmises as to which theories will succeed in mak- book, and expressed in his letter of June 7, 1951 that he was ‘grateful
ing disclosures about reality. Polanyi expressed his appreciation that to you [Popper] for your help in revising the last essay. I have been
Popper had, in a recent letter, ‘called . . . [him] by the name my oldest able to incorporate most of your suggestions in the proofs. Without
friends use, because through Karl [Polanyi] we are really very old your stimulus this essay would never have been written’.15 In the
friends, and this was revived in me by talking about you to Ilona following paragraph of the letter, Polanyi cautioned, ‘I think we do
[Polanyi]. You have been a good friend to her too’ (italics added). not agree on the formulation of liberalism, but that only proves
Describing Popper as an ‘old friend,’ Polanyi was probably harking how inadequate all formulations are in these matters as our views
back to their correspondence of 1932. In closing, Polanyi commented are fundamentally similar’. This was a diplomatic gesture by Polanyi
that he had tried to phone Popper in London but failed to reach him. to prepare Popper for when he would read in the ‘Preface’ of The Lo-
He added that he might be coming to The LSE to deliver a paper in gic of Liberty a statement that was almost certainly intended by Pola-
March ‘but it is not yet certain. Anyhow, I really must try to meet nyi to reject the terminology, and at least some of the content, of the
you soon’. idea at the centre of Popper’s major work as a social and political
Correspondence indicates the two men met for discussions on philosopher, The Open Society and Its Enemies. The ‘Preface’ of The Lo-
occasion in this period, with meetings occurring in the final gic of Liberty affirms that ‘Private individualism is no important pillar
months of 1949 and early 1950 as Polanyi and Popper seriously of public liberty. A free society is not an Open Society, but one fully
pursued topics of common interest. A letter from Polanyi dated dedicated to a distinctive set of beliefs’ (Polanyi, 1951, p. vi emphasis
11 October 1949 tried to set up a meeting with Popper later in added).16

11
This is likely to be Popper’s ‘Logic without Assumptions’ (1946–1947). The other paper may have been Popper’s ‘New Foundations for Logic’ (1947).
12
This 11 October 1949 letter from Polanyi to Popper is from Box 5, Folder 6, Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
13
A 13 October 1949 postcard confirmed a noon meeting with Popper in his office to be followed by lunch. A 9 November 1949 letter thanked Popper for his help concerning a
point in logic: ‘It all came very much as I was led to expect from what you said. Newman [Polanyi’s colleague—Professor of Pure Mathematics—at Manchester] and Turing declared
that they could construct a machine which would extend indefinitely the production of Godelian sentences’. Polanyi noted that he was now thinking more carefully about the
question under consideration and, once he had written up his views, ‘will send you a copy in the hope that you might let me have your reaction to it’. The letter ended with a
comment about a projected trip to London in the middle of the month and the promise of a phone call to Popper’s home to set up a common meal.
14
It is uncertain as to which Popper paper on mind and machine Polanyi was referring. Polanyi’s preoccupation with this area included his participation in an October 1949
Manchester conference on the theme of ‘The Mind and the Computing Machine’ at which he presented a paper ‘Can Man be Represented by a Machine?’ This paper, Scott &
Moleski (2005, p. 215) indicate, ‘drew on the ideas of Godel and Tarski to show that the use of intuition and judgment, which is essential to even the most formal of logical
procedures, cannot be represented by any kind of mechanism’. In 1951, Polanyi published ‘The Hypothesis of Cybernetics,’ which was related to his 1949 work, being (Scott &
Moleski, 2005, p. 217) ‘part of a discussion on calculators simulating minds’. Popper chaired the editorial committee of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science at the time
the decision was taken to publish this paper in the journal.
15
Popper apparently helped Polanyi to revise ‘Economics and Intellectual Liberties’ (Polanyi 1950). A copy in Edward Shils’ files of a 16 January 1950 letter from Polanyi’s
secretary to Popper indicated ‘Economics and Intellectual Liberties’ was enclosed for Popper. In a 31 January 1950 letter to Shils, Polanyi indicated that Popper had provided minor
corrections of ‘Economic and Intellectual Liberties’. These letters are in Edward Shils Papers, Box 4, Michael Polanyi Folder, Special Collections Research Center, University of
Chicago Library, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Given that the 31 January 1950 letter to Shils identified the revisions as minor, and given that the final chapter of The Logic of Liberty
incorporates elements of other writings of Polanyi (1941, 1944), Polanyi’s later (June 1951) letter to Popper surely exaggerated the importance of Popper’s contribution to that
chapter. One senses that Polanyi was prepared to stretch the truth in order to please Popper.
16
For a discussion of Polanyi’s political philosophy in this period, much of which turns on his notion of ‘public liberty,’ see Jacobs & Mullins (2008, pp. 120–131).
430 S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435

Despite this criticism (thinly veiled but without citation) by (1997, 21ff.) that ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ made a positive impres-
Polanyi of Popper’s view in The Open Society, they outwardly re- sion on Paul Feyerabend whose writings, along with those of Tho-
mained on good terms with each other.17 Popper enthused in a let- mas Kuhn and others, began fomenting a revolution in the
ter of October 30, 1951 that he would ‘love to see you when you can understanding of science from the early 1960s.19
come to London and as much as you like,’ and he extended an invi- The immediate context of Polanyi’s ‘Stability of Beliefs’ was his
tation to Polanyi to attend his seminar. ‘Do you think you could pos- Gifford Lectures (the First Series being given in May and June of
sibly attend my Seminar either for reading a Paper there or for 1951, and the Second Series in November and December of 1952)
discussion? It is on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. The topic of the Sem- at the University of Aberdeen. The orientation of Polanyi’s Gifford
inar at present is a very wide and ambitious one—on ‘‘the principles Lectures was twofold: he argued against what he considered to
of a Good Society.’’’ be the disproportionate role that has been given to doubt and crit-
icism in modern thought, and—as a constructive alternative—he
drew the contours of a new philosophy of belief, faith and commit-
4. ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ 1952 ment. Polanyi’s first lecture (May 7, 1951) proclaimed in its open-
ing paragraph, ‘philosophy must voice today our decisive beliefs’.20
For the historian of the philosophy of science, the letter of great- The fourth lecture, ‘The Fiduciary Mode,’ looked at the pervasiveness
est interest in the Hoover Archives folder of correspondence be- of belief. ‘The Self-Destruction of Objectivism’ outlined how, since
tween Popper and Polanyi is an undated one in Popper’s hand the Enlightenment, ‘radical skepticism grew from the doubt that
which he very likely wrote in the early summer of 1952. It is a let- had cleared the ground for the progress of science,’ undermining
ter directly challenging the argument that Popper understood Pola- the traditional virtues and liberal society itself and preparing the
nyi to have made in his paper, ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ which way for the political upheavals and nihilism in Europe since the
Polanyi had delivered on June 9, 1952 in London before the Philos- nineteenth century (Scott & Moleski, 2005, p. 218). The sixth lecture
ophy of Science group of which Popper was a member.18 argued that ‘the dangers of a frankly fiduciary philosophy cannot be
The archival letter looks to be incomplete. The letter has num- avoided,’ with Polanyi calling for ‘the rehabilitation of overt belief’.
bered points, of which 1 and 2 are on the first page, 3 and 4 are In the seventh lecture, ‘The Doubting of Explicit Beliefs,’ Polanyi fo-
on the second page, points 6 and 7 are on a separate sheet, with cused on how the modern mind sharply distinguishes between belief
the last sheet consisting of a closing sentence. There is no point 5 and doubt and attacks belief ‘by pitting against it the method of
which there very well could have been in the original letter on an- doubt, in the expectation that this will leave behind a residue of true
other separate sheet. What Popper said in his first four points sug- knowledge’. In fact, as Polanyi put matters in his following lecture,
gests the possibility of a point 5 but a check with the Hoover ‘The Doubting of Implicit Beliefs,’ in doubting both explicit and im-
Institution Popper archives has found no misfiled page containing plicit beliefs, there is ‘no reduction in the volume of beliefs, but . . . an
a point 5. Popper could, of course, simply have been careless in acceptance of new beliefs in place of those previously held’.21 The
numbering his points. Even absent a point 5, Popper’s criticisms précis of ‘The Doubting of Implicit Beliefs’ makes it clear that much
are clear. The letter ends with Popper noting that he hoped that of the material for Polanyi’s ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ was drawn di-
Polanyi would submit his paper to The British Journal for the Philos- rectly from this May 30, 1951 Gifford lecture.22
ophy of Science, which was under Popper’s editorship, and ‘The Sta- Polanyi (1952, p. 217) commenced ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ by
bility of Beliefs’ appeared in the November 1952 issue. asserting that all our beliefs are held in one of two ways, either
Before presenting Popper’s letter responding to Polanyi’s paper, ‘explicitly as articles of faith’ or ‘implicitly by reliance on a partic-
we analyze the argument of Polanyi’s ‘Stability of Beliefs’ in some ular conceptual framework by which all experience is inter-
detail as well as the context in which this paper should be viewed, preted’.23 He contended that ‘the principle of doubt’ has become a
being the ideas on science and epistemology that Polanyi was deeply embedded supposition of modern culture where it is taken
developing in the late forties and early fifties. The importance of to be an antidote to dogmatism. In the modern period, ‘the contin-
the paper extends beyond his relations with Popper, since the nas- ued application of doubt seems to have converted all explicit forms
cent view of science that Polanyi was presenting in the paper came of faith into implicit beliefs, ensconced in our conceptual framework,
to full fruition in his 1958 Personal Knowledge. Much of ‘The Stabil- where they elude the edge of our skepticism’. Holding beliefs dog-
ity of Beliefs’ was incorporated by Polanyi in subsections (‘Implicit matically as explicit ‘articles of faith’ has come to be seen as irratio-
Beliefs,’ and ‘Three Aspects of Stability’) of chapter 9 of Personal nal, the modern mind having worked to eliminate all such
Knowledge (1958, pp. 286–292), with some elements included in ‘affirmations of faith’ as uncritical. Polanyi did not carefully explain
other chapter sections. Also, it has been noted by John Preston here what he understood this principle of doubt to stand for in

17
In a letter of 21 September 1951, Polanyi reported to Popper that one of Popper’s objections to Einstein’s work on the diffusion constant appeared to be warranted according
to new research. Polanyi speculated about future trips to London, hoping ‘to arrange to meet you . . . for friendly discussion of the many problems in which I would value your
advice’.
18
A note in the published article indicates the paper was given March 6, 1952, but both research for the Polanyi biography (Scott & Moleski, p. 220) and recent examination of
archival material of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science by Peter Vickers on the present authors’ behalf indicate the meeting was postponed until June 9, 1952.
19
Preston (1997, p. 217ff.) regards ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ as an important part of the explanation of why Feyerabend’s Against Method (1975) is redolent of Polanyi’s ideas,
including use made of the example of the framework of Zande witchcraft, the idea that formulated method rules are of little if any importance in scientific research, rejection of the
falsificationist account of science, not to mention incommensurability (or what Polanyi (1958, p. 130ff.) referred to as the ‘logical gap’) between scientific theories, and between
science and other worldpictures.
20
The only manuscript of Polanyi’s Gifford Lectures is a text that has in some sections been revised, retyped and re-dated with some dates as late as 1954. Polanyi gave this
manuscript to Marjorie Grene in May 1957, and it is now part of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library, Perkins Library, Duke University. A copy of the
manuscript is available from the Perkins Library as microfilm #222-1-2, including an instructive introduction by Gerald Smith. A ‘Syllabus’ for Polanyi’s First Series of Gifford
Lectures, including lecture titles, dates and a one-page précis of each lecture, is available in Box 33, Folder 1 Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center,
University of Chicago Library. Quotations in this paragraph and the next, unless otherwise indicated, are from the ‘Syllabus’.
21
Personal Knowledge (1958) grew out of Polanyi’s Gifford Lectures, and in the 1964 (p. ix) Preface to the Torchbook edition Polanyi identified that he faced in his book ‘the task
of justifying the holding of unproven traditional beliefs’.
22
Some elements at the beginning and the end of Polanyi’s published 1952 paper differ from the Duke version of the eighth lecture whose typescript is dated May 23, 1951. But
the overlap is nevertheless great, just as the ‘Syllabus’ précis suggests.
23
Polanyi (1952, p. 219 italics added) preferred the term ‘belief’ to that of ‘knowledge’ for the purpose of indicating ‘the intention of keeping always open in our minds a broad
and patent access to the personal origins of our convictions’.
S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435 431

modern epistemology, nor did he name its supporters. There was no reason outside, or against, their beliefs because they have no other
mention of him in ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ but Popper would have idiom in which to express their thoughts.’’
needed little coaching to see that Polanyi’s argument was fundamen- Beliefs like those held by doctrinaire Marxists or Freudians, the
tally at variance with the view of science—falsifiability as the crite- Azande or scientists are, Polanyi suggested (1952, p. 218), ‘doubt
rion of scientific theories coupled with the proposition that proof’ since they have ‘adhesive power’ as ‘interpretative frame-
scientists use critical methods to try to falsify their theories—that works’. They are acritically held faith-beliefs. For its adherents, a
he had developed in Logik der Forschung, and had since expressed framework of belief underlies, interprets, and is confirmed by,
in a number of his English language publications, including The Open experience, ruling out the possibility of adherents criticizing (test-
Society and Its Enemies and ‘The Poverty of Historicism’. ing) it by experience.24
In ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ Polanyi (1952, p. 227) indicated that Polanyi regarded it as important to focus on how frameworks
science involves doubt (criticism), but that it is not special in this maintain the credence of adherents, showing this through a partic-
regard because doubt is also a part of other cultures. Scientists ular strategy. He (1952, p. 218) ‘examine[d] the same or similar
have to think ‘boldly’ if they are to make discoveries but, reasoned mental operations in the one case from the outside critically, and
Polanyi (1952, p. 227), the scientist has no way to distinguish in the other from the inside, uncritically’. He (1952, p. 220) noted
whether the next step by which he proposes to advance his re- that in regard to the practice of witchcraft and magic, a scientifi-
search is ‘truly bold’ or ‘merely reckless’. Doubt is needed in order cally trained anthropologist such as Evans-Pritchard (an outside
to ‘curb recklessness,’ but doubt has to be restrained in order to try view) could not convince the Azande to experiment with the
to prevent it from ‘crippl[ing potentially valuable acts of] . . . bold- administration of special ritually-gathered poison so that they
ness’. The cognitive situation in which scientists work is, suggested could recognize that it is merely the quantity of poison that deter-
Polanyi (1952, p. 227), too complex for scientists to be able to use- mines whether the fowl consuming it died or recovered (a matter
fully apply, and to be helpfully guided on how to proceed in their of great significance to the Azande in their decision-making) rather
research by, a principle of doubt or by any other explicit rule of pro- than—as the Azande believed (an inside view)—whether magical
cedure. For example, the situation is too complex for scientists to powers were properly introduced into the substance (‘benge’) by
be able to rely on a rule that stipulates that facts that contradict oracles and magicians. The Azande as a people (1952, p. 220) ‘hold
theories should be counted as solid evidence against (genuine fal- distinctive systems of beliefs by practicing peculiar modes of inter-
sifications of) those theories. A fact contradicting a theory does not pretation which are inherent in their conceptual framework and
entail that the theory is false, according to Polanyi. The theory are reflected in their language’. At the same time, Polanyi affirmed
might be re-interpreted so as to successfully explain the fact that he—a person who held as his own framework a modern scien-
(1952, p. 229). And scientists might change their view of a partic- tific worldview—did not himself believe that the magical orienta-
ular set of facts, coming to regard them as fictions. For Polanyi tion of the Azande is true, nor did he believe that Marxist or
(1952, p. 229), ‘observations which at one time were held to be Freudian perspectives are true. He (1952, p. 222) emphasised
important scientific facts’ can disappear from science ‘because how the Zande conceptual framework, and any conceptual frame-
the conceptual framework of science had meanwhile so altered work (science included), works in a particular human communal
that the facts no longer appeared credible’. In this case, with a setting to thwart efforts to demonstrate that it is false.
new ‘understanding’ of the subject matter, scientists see the old The operational powers that Polanyi contended make concep-
phenomena as either ‘spurious,’ or else as ‘real’ but as ‘due to trivial tual frameworks as embedded implicit belief structures so stable
causes’ and as no longer interesting (1952, p. 230). What facts are are as follows. First, he argued that any system of implicit beliefs
relevant and of interest to a scientist, or any other person, depend is embodied in a language and operates in a ‘circular fashion’.
on his particular framework. Polanyi (1952, p. 230) considered this When a new ‘fact,’ ‘topic,’ or ‘experience’ contradicts a worldview,
to be as true for those who accept the modern scientific account as most of the language continues in use, with the worldview largely
for those who believe in Zande witchcraft, psychoanalysis or unchallenged and remaining convincing to speakers of this lan-
Marxism. guage. The experience contradicting one part of a given worldview
The distinctions of ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ (as well as those of proceeds to be explained by the greater part of the worldview that
its predecessor, Polanyi’s eighth lecture—‘The Doubt of Implicit Be- remains uncontradicted, and the ‘circle of the argument’ is closed
liefs’—in his First Series of Giffords) rest on a theory of language. (1952, pp. 222–225). The discrepant experience is explained, and
Each language, the theory proposes, reflects a worldview (‘concep- implicit belief in the framework is preserved and even strength-
tual framework’) (1952, pp. 219–220). To use a language confi- ened. Second, Polanyi (1952, p. 224) claimed that each ‘idiom of
dently, without equivocations, is to believe in its worldview belief’ has a power that contributes to its stability which is a
(1952, pp. 219–220). Each language is ‘an idiom of belief,’ a ‘system ‘self-expanding capacity’ to provide ‘subsidiary explanations for
of belief’ offering a particular interpretation of the world (1952, p. difficult situations’. There is an ‘epicyclic reserve’ of explanations
220). The idea of each language embodying an interpretation of the with which to reconcile the theory to ‘adverse evidence’ (‘con-
world Polanyi credited to Lévy-Brühl, noting that Evans-Pritchard tradictions’) (1952, p. 228). As an example of an ‘epicyclic’ explana-
had elaborated on the idea in his study, Witchcraft, Oracles and Ma- tion, Polanyi cited (1952, p. 228) scientists describing experiences
gic among the Azande (1937). Polanyi’s 1952 essay provocatively that contradict a theory as ‘anomalies,’ the implication being that
used this exotic anthropology to raise and respond to fundamental each anomalous event will eventually be satisfactorily explained
questions about doubt, belief, reasoning and science itself. Polanyi without damage to the theory. The third power, enabling each
(1952, p. 220) referred to Evans-Pritchard as having been struck by idiom of belief to maintain its stability, Polanyi (1952, p. 225) de-
the conviction with which the Azande held their beliefs ‘against scribed as ‘the principle of suppressed nucleation’. Typically, ad-
evidence which to the European seems flagrantly to refute them’. verse evidence will fail to gain such strength as to be able to sow
He (1952, p. 221) quoted Evans-Pritchard’s view that the Azande seeds of doubt in the minds of those who implicitly accept an
‘‘reason excellently . . . in the idiom of their beliefs, but they cannot idiom of belief, there being little if any opportunity for a concept(s)

24
Polanyi (1952, p. 218) qualified this view somewhat when he suggested that adherents may lose faith in their framework, sensing ‘that its powers were excessive and
specious’. At some point after the publication of ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ Polanyi marked distinctions between ‘critical,’ ‘uncritical’ and ‘acritical’. What he was focusing on in the
1952 paper is implicit belief frameworks which he would later suggest are ‘tacitly held’ and, insofar as they continue to be used or ‘dwelt in,’ are ‘acritical’. This distinction Polanyi
worked out reasonably clearly in Personal Knowledge (1958, p. 264ff).
432 S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435

to form, by which the adherents could recognize the evidence and (7) For example, we can never/usually not be certain that a cer-
appreciate it as significant. This power, Polanyi suggested (1952, p. tain argument is not used epicyclically and cannot demonstrate
225), is a consequence of an idiom’s epicyclic and circular powers. that it is not so used. But why should we?
The fundamental difference that had emerged by 1952 between I suppose you will consider all this useless, and not to the
the philosophies of science of Polanyi and Popper was somewhat point. However here it is. We all enjoyed your paper very much
masked in ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ by the fact that Polanyi never and we should love to publish it in the Journal as quickly as
used terms—‘criticism,’ ‘falsifiability’ and ‘falsification’—that were possible.
uppermost in Popper’s lexicon. If Popper’s views were, by implica- Yours ever,
tion, indicted by Polanyi’s paper, the question arises as to why K.
Polanyi did not straightforwardly mention, discuss, or criticize
Popper was passionately committed to his own philosophy of
Popper’s philosophy of science in the paper. Polanyi probably had
science, and intolerant of its critics and doubters. Even Popper’s
no wish to jeopardize the collegial relations that he had enjoyed
closest friend, Ernst Gombrich, was clear on this, explaining to
with Popper. Polanyi also may have been sensitive about Popper’s
Bryan Magee (1998, p. 231; also Agassi, 2008, pp. 33, 287) that
friendship with Karl and Ilona Polanyi, and he very likely felt a
Popper ‘seemed unable to accept the continued existence of differ-
common bond with Popper, given that members of their respective
ent points of view, but went on and on and on about them with a
families had been murdered by the Nazis. It seems to have been the
kind of unforgivingness until the dissenter, so to speak, put his sig-
articulation of a constructive alternative vision to the critical tradi-
nature to a confession that he was wrong and Popper was right. In
tion that interested Polanyi more than focusing narrowly on Pop-
practice this meant he was trying to subjugate people’. In this light,
per’s views.
Popper strains credence when he remarked that he ‘enjoyed’ Pola-
nyi’s ‘paper very much’. That was not the impression Polanyi re-
5. Popper’s letter concerning ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ ceived, John Watkins (p. 668) noting in his British Academy
biographical memoir of Popper that ‘Polanyi was gravely offended
Popper’s letter to Polanyi, apparently written soon after Pola- by the treatment that Popper, as chairman, meted out to him when
nyi’s June 9, 1952 London presentation of ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ he read a paper (on ‘‘The Stability of Beliefs’’, 6 March 1952 [sic.])
underlined in an incisive and direct fashion what he saw as impor- to the Philosophy of Science Group’. Popper’s philosophy was being
tant differences between their views. challenged by that to which he had heard Polanyi give expression
Dear Michael, in ‘The Stability of Beliefs’. Popper championed the ‘principle of
If you are interested in what I now think concerning the matter doubt’ in a falsificationist version of it; he viewed criticism as the
we discussed in the very interesting meeting when you method of rational cognitive advance in science and in general,
addressed The Philosophy of Science Group, here it is. whereas Polanyi had effectively dismissed all this as a caricature
(1) The parallelism between Zandi [sic.] religion and modern of science and epistemology. Popper would have been among those
science is admittedly far reaching and interesting. whom the paper (Polanyi, 1952, p. 218) ‘shock[ed],’ and to whom it
(2) There are structural differences [see on this our footnote 26 proved ‘a conscious affront’. Popper (2002, p. 679 n. 23) had indi-
below concerning Popper’s point (3)]. These can be explained cated his aversion to cognitive relativism in all editions of The Open
away, of course, by epicyclical arguments. (That epicyclical Society, and he (2002, p. 496ff) had explained why a rejection of
arguments are always possible as has been pointed out by me critical rationalism would likely encourage violence, putting paid
in my Logik der Forschung I call them there: ‘‘Konventionalisti- to rationality and humanitarian values. Polanyi, on the other hand,
sche Wendung’’ [conventionalist strategies25].) was developing a constructive philosophy, affirming fiduciary
(3) Indeed, we need a faith—‘‘faith in reason’’, I called it in the foundations of knowledge and common life, as an alternative to
‘‘Open Society’’. But this faith consists, fundamentally, in the real- the critical tradition of philosophy which he blamed for having
isation of (2), i.e. [recognition] of the existence of structural dif- eroded the traditional values of science and Western culture. Pop-
ferences between Zandi and us; and therefore in the abstention per’s letter had no discernible effect on Polanyi’s thinking.
from applying epicyclical method used to explain away these
differences.26 6. Epilogue
(4) If, seduced by the obvious possibility of explaining away
these differences, the structural identity of Zandi and our sci- There is little correspondence between Popper and Polanyi in the
ence is asserted, then faith in reason is abandoned. This leads Hoover Institution Popper Collection following Popper’s letter of
to relativism, or skepticism, or mysticism. 1952, and that which is extant is of little intellectual interest. After
(6) The common basis of the relativistic or sceptic or mystic 1952, their correspondence seems to have been occasional and sel-
position is always the same. It is disappointment with a ratio- dom rising above the level of exchanging pleasantries. ‘The Stability
nalism from which more was demanded than it can give, viz. of Beliefs’ and Popper’s analysis of it in his letter made it clear to each
certainty or demonstration where we have to be content with- man that they were worlds apart in their philosophical outlooks. The
out these. extent of the difference between his orientation and that of Popper

25
See The Logic of Scientific Discovery, pp. 82–84 where this is the English translation used.
26
Here Popper alluded to his falsifiability criterion of demarcation between statements of science and those of non-scientific systems (including Polanyi’s example of Zande
witchcraft), and to the critical method which he believed is characteristic of science. There are two possible reasons, suggested by Popper’s falsifiability criterion, for why the
statements of Zande witchcraft may be unfalsifiable. First, they could be inherently unfalsifiable (unfalsifiable in principle) because the statements are devoid of empirical
reference. Second, the Azande might express statements that are formally falsifiable (falsifiable in principle), but which they render unfalsifiable in practice by resorting to, say, ad
hoc hypotheses to explain away empirical contradictions (falsifying observation statements). Popper’s use of the expression ‘structural differences’ suggests that his reason for
describing Zande statements as unfalsifiable is formal (tied up with properties of the statements themselves), whereas his talk of the Azande ‘applying [the] epicyclical
method . . . to explain away’ contradictions/falsifications strongly suggests that the unfalsifiability involved is practical and attitudinal, being an adoption of methods that will save
empirically contradicted statements from falsification by adding content-diminishing hypotheses that effectively explain putative falsifications away. The better of the two
interpretations, we agree with Ian Jarvie (2001a, p. 77 n. 30), is that Popper regarded the statements of Zande witchcraft as unfalsifiable in practice, with the Azande employing
‘epicyclical . . . evasions’.
S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435 433

had also been suggested by Polanyi in the Gifford Lectures, and it By this time Popper probably was more concerned with another
was reiterated by him in 1958 in his book Personal Knowledge, par- adversary, namely Thomas Kuhn. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific
ticularly in his choice of its subtitle: Towards a post-critical philoso- Revolutions had appeared in 1962, and in 1965 Imre Lakatos ar-
phy.27 This subtitle expressed Polanyi’s hope that his book might ranged for Kuhn and Popper (and others) to discuss their different
help to bring about an instauration in epistemology and philosophy images of science in a conference at Bedford College, University of
of science, replacing the critical philosophy that Polanyi saw as having London.30
dominated the modern outlook to its detriment. Popper’s meta- In The Tacit Dimension (1966, p. 78), Polanyi commented on cur-
science, with its motif of conjecture and criticism was, Polanyi rently fashionable idealized notions about science as dispassionate,
implied, a late expression of an outdated epistemology.28 which idealizations deem ‘the scientist not only indifferent to the
In 1958, Popper wrote a ‘Preface’ for the English translation outcome of his surmises but actually seeking their refutation’. In
(and expansion) of Logik der Forschung, appearing in the following Polanyi’s view (1966, pp. 78–79), such indifference ‘is not only con-
year as The Logic of Scientific Discovery. At the end of the ‘Preface, trary to experience, but logically inconceivable. The surmises of a
1958’ Popper (1959, p. 23 italics added) stressed that he could working scientist are born of the imagination seeking discovery. Such
see no good coming from the ‘‘post-critical’’ philosophy. effort risks defeat but never seeks it; it is in fact his craving for suc-
cess that makes the scientist take the risk of failure. There is no
I am interested in science and in philosophy only because I want
other way’. In one of his late essays, ‘Genius in Science,’ Polanyi
to learn something about the riddle of the world in which we
(1972, p. 46) discussed the ‘temper of the age which prefers a tan-
live, and the riddle of man’s knowledge of that world. And I
gible explanation to one relying on more personal powers of the
believe that only a revival of interest in these riddles can save
mind’. According to Polanyi, this had led to the presumption that
the sciences and philosophy from narrow specialization and
scientific discoveries are tentative hypotheses and that ‘unless a
from an obscurantist faith in the expert’s special skill and in
hypothesis produces testable conclusions it should be disregarded
his personal knowledge and authority; a faith that so well fits
as lacking any substantial significance’. Here Polanyi footnoted
our ‘‘post-rationalist’’ and ‘‘post-critical’’ age, proudly dedicated
Popper31 as the source of the ‘widely influential’ idea that Polanyi
to the destruction of the tradition of rational philosophy, and of
denominated as ‘the principles of ‘‘refutationalism.’’ Polanyi did
rational thought itself.
not directly deal with these ‘principles,’ but turned to the history
A letter from Polanyi to Popper of 4 May 1965 sounded a con- of science to show that testing discoveries is often unnecessary
cerned note, anticipating a conflict emerging between himself and may be impracticable.
and Popper while holding out hope for a careful public scrutiny So far as we can tell, Popper made no mention of Polanyi in any
of their respective views. ‘It seems possible that in the next few publication after The Poverty of Historicism until 1982, several years
years we may become involved in controversy. This might indeed after Polanyi’s death. Popper and J. C. Eccles’ book, The Self and Its
be the best way to clarify the relation between our views and give Brain (1981, p. 130), has a relevant note to Polanyi’s Tacit Dimen-
the public a better chance to form their own views of the whole sion, but it is no more than a reference to three footnotes early in
area we jointly cover. Later decades may also profit from it’. No Polanyi’s book which cite some psychological literature that Pop-
serious conflict or ‘controversy’ did erupt between them. What oc- per and Eccles had found to be of interest. In his 1982 ‘Introduc-
curred was occasional sniping as they, and people who might be tion’ to Realism and the Aim of Science, Popper (1983, p. xxxi)
considered to belong to Popper’s circle, critically alluded to the made the point that ‘Kuhn’s views’ on the subject of truth ‘seem
other’s views.29 to me to be affected by relativism; more specifically, by some form

27
By the late forties and early fifties, Polanyi was using the term ‘post-critical’ to mark his philosophical acceptance of the importance of belief. In an undated (but almost
certainly 1949) letter to Shils (Edward Shils Papers, Box 4, Michael Polanyi folder, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library) about his spring 1950 term
lectures at the University of Chicago which Shils had helped to set up, Polanyi said of the upcoming lectures, ‘It would be easy to talk on the lines: ‘‘The Structure of Liberty’’. But
my true interest lies in getting my basic position clear which would be hinted in a title like ‘‘Towards a post-critical age.’’’ He used ‘post-critical’ in the title of one of his Gifford
Lectures. In ‘Perils of Inconsistency’ (1951, p. 109), Polanyi hinted that he saw emerging a new cultural epoch that would transform the tradition of doubt/criticism of modern
thought: ‘The critical enterprise which gave rise to the Renaissance and the Reformation, and started the rise of our science, philosophy and art, had matured to its conclusion and
had reached its final limits. We have thus begun to live in a new intellectual period, which I would call the post-critical age of Western civilization. Liberalism to-day [sic] is
becoming conscious of its own fiduciary foundations and is forming an alliance with other beliefs, kindred to its own’.
28
Polanyi in Personal Knowledge (1958 p. 188) criticized falsificationism, but he mentioned Popper by name only once and that was in the context of explaining the difficulties
associated with defining mathematics, noting a point made by Popper in an article of 1951 that for each significant mathematical theorem inferred from a set of selected axioms
an infinite number of trivial theorems can also be derived.
29
Agassi, who most scholars would regard as having belonged to Popper’s circle, Polanyi knew and sought to bring to Manchester in the mid-fifties. In Polanyi’s letter to Popper
of 9 December 1954, he notes, ’I am writing to Agassi to tell him that I am still as keen as ever to proceed with the project of getting him to Manchester next year’. Agassi was a
critical admirer of Polanyi’s thought who dedicated his essay-collection, Science and Society (1981, xx) ‘to the memory of Michael Polanyi’. We thank one of our reviewers for
having reminded us of Agassi’s regard for Polanyi. See also Agassi’s more recent comments (2008, p. 143) where he declares Polanyi and Popper the ‘two greatest and clearest
philosophers of the mid-twentieth century’. He comments (2008, p. 179) that ‘the dedication of my Science and Society to his [Polanyi’s] memory is expiation to some extent’.
Agassi also notes that Polanyi ‘was a model gentleman, a truly open person’ who offered him ‘an assistantship before Popper did’ and ‘wanted me to help him as he put his
celebrated Personal Knowledge (sic) in its final shape’.
30
Lakatos in his chapter in the volume he edited with Musgrave (1970), including papers from the 1965 Bedford College conference, made certain disapproving remarks about
Polanyi’s metascience (Lakatos 1970, pp. 92, n. 2, 115, 163 n. 2, 178). However, these references may have been a subterfuge. Jha (2006, p. 329) notes that Lakatos ‘informally
invited Polanyi [to the Bedford College conference] and repeatedly attempted to convince Popper to agree to it’ but ‘eventually Popper instructed Lakatos to dis-invite Polanyi’.
Based on her study of The Lakatos Papers at The LSE Archives, Jha (2006, p. 328) observes that ‘In the early 1960s, although Lakatos was Popper’s assistant and officially a loyal
Popperian, he was corresponding with Polanyi about his [Lakatos’] ‘‘Proofs and Refutations’’ in which, as he said, the idea of tacit knowing is evident . . . Lakatos was contacting the
‘‘enemy camp’’’. Of Alan Musgrave, Jha writes (2006, p. 328, n. 22) that his doctoral thesis, ‘Impersonal Knowledge [note the contrast to Polanyi’s expression]: A Criticism of
Subjectivism in Epistemology’ which was supervised by Popper, and examined in 1969, ‘was taken to be the canonical Popperian criticism of Polanyi’. It would take years until
Musgrave’s critique of Polanyi received a due response (Sanders, 1988, pp. 159–226).
31
Polanyi (1972, p. 46 n. 8) cited Logik der Forschung (1934) and mentioned the English translation, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Polanyi mistakenly giving its year of
publication as 1946). He noted that in Conjectures and Refutations (1963) Popper had somewhat modified the position of the Logik der Forschung but Polanyi said this ‘does not
substantially affect the principles of ‘‘refutationalism.’’’ As both his late references to Popper in The Tacit Dimension and ‘Genius in Science’ suggest, Polanyi was aware that
Popper’s view of science had become popular. He saw The Logic of Scientific Discovery and related works as having enhanced Popper’s reputation undeservedly, believing that
Popper did not deeply understand scientific practice. There is a number of critical comments on Popper’s views in unpublished Polanyi materials.
434 S. Jacobs, P. Mullins / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2011) 426–435

of subjectivism and of elitism, as proposed for example by Pola- Feyerabend and Polanyi which appeared in Appraisal (1997), and
nyi’.32 Popper suggested that cognitive relativism was a corollary Professor Alan Musgrave (University of Otago) provided us with
of the ‘subjectivism’ in terms of which he (like his PhD student copy of a relevant part of his PhD thesis. Dr. Peter Vickers (Univer-
Musgrave (1969)) characterized Polanyi’s concept of ‘personal sity of Leeds) examined archival material of the British Society for
knowledge’. the Philosophy of Science to verify the date on which Polanyi read
Polanyi saw himself as a philosopher who had not received his his paper, ‘The Stability of Beliefs,’ to the London Philosophy of Sci-
due, contrasting his neglect against the high reputations of Popper ence group (P. Mullins, personal communication, February 12,
and Kuhn. In August 1970, in a letter to Donald Campbell (profes- 2010).
sor of psychology at Northwestern University), Polanyi declared
that: References
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32
Given Polanyi’s frequent use of the term ‘framework,’ as for example in ‘The Stability of Beliefs’ and Personal Knowledge, it is noteworthy that Popper’s essay, ‘The Myth of the
Framework’ (1994, its original version had been produced by Popper in 1965) mentioned Kuhn and several other supporters of the idea that knowledge is produced within
frameworks, while omitting to name Polanyi.
33
Moleski kindly drew our attention to this letter (Box 8: Folder 13, Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library) and advised that
Polanyi opposed Popper’s election to the Royal Society (see below). For discussion of the probability that Kuhn owed important intellectual debts to Polanyi, which he never
properly acknowledged, see articles in the special issue of Tradition & Discovery (2006–2007), 33:2, and Jacobs (2009).
34
Box 10, Folder 6, Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
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