Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Abstract for MMU

Tacit knowledge, phronesis and particularism

I assume that particularism is a thesis about ontology. That which disciplines moral judgement is not codifiable. Phronesis is a corresponding epistemology where what is known resists linguistic codification in context-independent terms and is instead constitutively situation-dependent. But phronesis also denotes practical rather than theoretical knowledge raising the question of the relation between these two aspects of it.

Tacit knowledge was characterised by Polanyi via the related slogan ‘We know more than we can tell’ but at least one central argument given by him for why this is so is unsuccessful. I suggest a characterisation of phronesis and an account of tacit knowledge can both draw on familiar regress arguments for the priority of practical over theoretical knowledge which helps highlight three distinct understandings of situation-dependence but retaining the basic idea of the priority of the practical.

January Workshop: Particularism and Personalised Medicine