Edward Shils and Michael Polanyi

The terms of engagement

in The calling of social thought
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This essay examines the thirty-year personal and intellectual friendship of Edward Shils and Michael Polanyi. Shils identifies Polanyi as one of his three important mentors; he is aware of and often involved in many Polanyi projects after the mid-forties and absorbs elements of Polanyi’s developing post-critical philosophical perspective. Shils helped Polanyi better understand the social sciences and he was a trusted friend whose scholarly writing apparently inspired Polanyi; Shils was also a capable younger figure on whom Polanyi often relied to organize endeavours such as Polanyi’s long term affiliation with the University of Chicago.

The calling of social thought

Rediscovering the work of Edward Shils

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