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Contact with Reality

Contact with Reality

by Esther Lightcap Meek
Contact with Reality

Contact with Reality

by Esther Lightcap Meek

Paperback

$37.00
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Overview

Is knowledge discovered, or just invented? Can we ever get outside ourselves to know how reality is in itself, independent of us? Philosophical realism raises the question whether in our knowing we connect with an independent reality--or only connect with our own mental constructs. Far from being a silly parlor game, the question impacts our lives concretely and deeply. Modern Western culture has been infected with antirealism and the doubt, skepticism, subjectivism, relativism, and atheism that attends it--not to mention distrust and arbitrary (mis)use of reality. Premier scientist-turned-philosopher Michael Polanyi stepped aside from research to offer an innovative account of knowing that takes its cue from how discovery actually happens. Polanyi defied the antirealism of the twentieth century, sounding a ringing note of hope in his repeated claim that in discovery, we know we have made contact with reality because ""we have a sense of the possibility of indeterminate future manifestations."" And that sense marks contact with reality, because it is the way reality is: abundant, generous, and fraught with as-yet-unnameable possibilities. This book examines that distinctive claim, contrasting it to the wider philosophical discussions regarding realism and antirealism in the recent decades. It shows why Polanyi's outlook is superior, and why that matters, not just to scientific discoverers, but to us all. ""In this lively book, Esther Lightcap Meek does more than simply make a compelling case for Polanyi's realism in the context of dominant epistemologies and philosophies of science; she also brings out a beautiful dimension of Polanyi's thought that is not often seen, deepening its metaphysical underpinnings through creative engagement with contemporary thinkers. This book makes a much-needed contribution to the reception of Polanyi--and offers a fresh, new way to think about reason more generally."" --D. C. Schindler, Associate Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, DC   ""Justifiably renowned for her previous explorations of the knowing process, Meek here guides us expertly through Michael Polanyi's epistemology and commends to us a renewed and humble appreciation of the generosity of reality itself. In an era of 'post-truth' and 'alternative facts,' this account of how we may discover what is real is very welcome indeed."" --Murray Rae, Professor, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, New Zealand   ""In this inspiring work, Meek brings us back to the most fundamental point of all: 'the natural trust and communion with reality that lies at the heart of humanness.' This book is a philosophical celebration of that relation, in the idiom of Michael Polanyi, and all who are drawn to this topic will find it a compelling read."" --Oliver Davies, Professor of Christian Doctrine, King's College London   ""Meek's fans will welcome this extension of her covenant epistemology to the metaphysics of realism, in careful conversation with contemporary philosophy. Polanyi's claim that knowing always bears indeterminate future manifestations is her theme, and it reaches an exciting climax in her comparison of Polanyi with Catholic thinkers Schindler and von Balthasar. This is an original, important contribution to preserving Mystery and furthering hope in the modern age, and deserves the widest readership. Take and read."" --David Rutledge, Pitts Professor Emeritus of Religion, Furman University; Past President, The Polanyi Society Esther Lightcap Meek is Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College. Her other books include Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (2003); Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology (2011); and A Little Manual for Knowing (2014). www.longingtoknow.com


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498239837
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 05/05/2017
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Esther Lightcap Meek is Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College. Her other books include Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (2003); Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology (2011); and A Little Manual for Knowing (2014). www.longingtoknow.com

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 Early Consideration of Contact with Reality

Preface to Part 1 11

1 Personal Knowledge 16

2 The Structure of Knowledge 29

3 Scientific Discovery 38

4 Polanyi's Realism 55

5 The Reality Statement 64

6 Contact with Reality 75

7 Criteria of Reality 86

8 Polanyi and Contemporary Realist Issues (I): Progress 108

9 Polanyi and Contemporary Realist Issues (II): Truth, in Particular Correspondence 148

10 Polanyi and Contemporary Realism 180

11 Grounding Polanyi's Realism: Merleau-Ponty 205

Part 2 Re-Calling Contact with Reality

Preface to Part 2 239

12 Polanyi and Retrieving Realism 244

13 The Current Conversation: The Difference Polanyi Would Make 260

14 Recovering Reality 278

Bibliography 299

Name Index 307

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In this lively book, Esther Lightcap Meek does more than simply make a compelling case for Polanyi's realism in the context of dominant epistemologies and philosophies of science; she also brings out a beautiful dimension of Polanyi's thought that is not often seen, deepening its metaphysical underpinnings through creative engagement with contemporary thinkers. This book makes a much-needed contribution to the reception of Polanyi—and offers a fresh, new way to think about reason more generally."

—D. C. Schindler, Associate Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, DC

 

"Justifiably renowned for her previous explorations of the knowing process, Meek here guides us expertly through Michael Polanyi's epistemology and commends to us a renewed and humble appreciation of the generosity of reality itself. In an era of 'post-truth' and 'alternative facts,' this account of how we may discover what is real is very welcome indeed."

—Murray Rae, Professor, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, New Zealand

 

"In this inspiring work, Meek brings us back to the most fundamental point of all: 'the natural trust and communion with reality that lies at the heart of humanness.' This book is a philosophical celebration of that relation, in the idiom of Michael Polanyi, and all who are drawn to this topic will find it a compelling read."

—Oliver Davies, Professor of Christian Doctrine, King's College London

 

"Meek's fans will welcome this extension of her covenant epistemology to the metaphysics of realism, in careful conversation with contemporary philosophy. Polanyi's claim that knowing always bears indeterminate future manifestations is her theme, and it reaches an exciting climax in her comparison of Polanyi with Catholic thinkers Schindler and von Balthasar. This is an original, important contribution to preserving Mystery and furthering hope in the modern age, and deserves the widest readership. Take and read."

—David Rutledge, Pitts Professor Emeritus of Religion, Furman University; Past President, The Polanyi Society

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