Limits...
The Pumpkin or the Tiger? Michael Polanyi, Frederick Soddy, and Anticipating Emerging Technologies.

Guston DH - Minerva (2012)

Bottom Line: Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one's work to avoid it.While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy's approach - together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard - provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies.This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi's claim in "The Republic of Science" of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Politics and Global Studies, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University, 1120 S. Cady Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287 USA.

ABSTRACT
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie "Jumanji": When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing "Jumanji" learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties - especially when completion of such puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one's work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy's approach - together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard - provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi's claim in "The Republic of Science" of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels.

No MeSH data available.


Professor Michael Polanyi, F.R.S. From the Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago, Box 45, folder 3
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Fig1: Professor Michael Polanyi, F.R.S. From the Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago, Box 45, folder 3

Mentions: Polanyi recounts a segment of this broadcast in his 1962 essay, “The republic of science,” published in the first issue of the journal Minerva under the heavy, green editorial pen of sociologist Edward Shils. The two formed a bond, beginning right after World War II and evident three decades later in Shils’ remembrance of Polanyi in Minerva: “The noble elevation of his bearing, his eloquence of speech, his compassion and his clarity of conviction were of a piece with his devotion to the discovery and possession of truth and his conception of it as one of the first obligations of a good society” (Shils 1976: 3) (Fig. 1).Fig. 1


The Pumpkin or the Tiger? Michael Polanyi, Frederick Soddy, and Anticipating Emerging Technologies.

Guston DH - Minerva (2012)

Professor Michael Polanyi, F.R.S. From the Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago, Box 45, folder 3
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3456912&req=5

Fig1: Professor Michael Polanyi, F.R.S. From the Michael Polanyi Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago, Box 45, folder 3
Mentions: Polanyi recounts a segment of this broadcast in his 1962 essay, “The republic of science,” published in the first issue of the journal Minerva under the heavy, green editorial pen of sociologist Edward Shils. The two formed a bond, beginning right after World War II and evident three decades later in Shils’ remembrance of Polanyi in Minerva: “The noble elevation of his bearing, his eloquence of speech, his compassion and his clarity of conviction were of a piece with his devotion to the discovery and possession of truth and his conception of it as one of the first obligations of a good society” (Shils 1976: 3) (Fig. 1).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one's work to avoid it.While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy's approach - together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard - provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies.This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi's claim in "The Republic of Science" of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Politics and Global Studies, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University, 1120 S. Cady Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287 USA.

ABSTRACT
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie "Jumanji": When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing "Jumanji" learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties - especially when completion of such puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one's work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy's approach - together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard - provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi's claim in "The Republic of Science" of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels.

No MeSH data available.