Making the Tacit Explicit

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tacit knowledge, Michael Polanyi, Mirror Neurons, concepts, precognition, non‐conceptual knowledge

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Tacit knowledge is both a ubiquitous and puzzling notion, related to the idea of hidden assumptions. The puzzle is partly a result of the conflict between the idea that assumptions are in the mind and the apparent audience‐relativity of the "fact" of possessing an assumption or of the tacit knowledge that is articulated. If we think of making the tacit explicit as constructing a certain kind of inference repairing explanation for a particular audience "on the fly" we come closer to an explanation of what happens when we "make our tacit knowledge explicit." We can account for our capacity to construct such statements for particular audiences by reference to our non‐conceptual capacities to understand others. This approach avoids problematic assumptions about shared representations that are common in cognitive science, and the equally problematic notion that tacit knowledge is sentence‐like content that we retrieve when we articulate something based on our tacit knowledge.

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Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, v. 42, issue 4, p. 385-402