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Michael Polanyi and His GenerationOrigins of the Social Construction of Science$
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Mary Jo Nye

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226610634

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226610658.001.0001

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(p.xiii) Introduction
Michael Polanyi and His Generation

Mary Jo Nye

University of Chicago Press

This book argues that the origins of this new social conception of science lie in a historical period considerably earlier than that of the 1960s. The roots are to be found in the scientific culture and political events of Europe in the 1930s, when scientific intellectuals struggled to defend the universal status of scientific knowledge and to justify public support for science in an era of economic catastrophe, the rise of Stalinism and Fascism, and increasing demands from governments for applications of science to industry and social welfare. Scientists disagreed among themselves upon the best means to meet these challenges and to defend the integrity of their scientific work. Michael Polanyi was among the leading protagonists in these cultural debates, which arose in the 1930s in Great Britain and continued in their original framework into the 1950s.

Keywords:   social conception, science, universal status, scientific knowledge, Michael Polanyi

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