“Man lives in the meanings he is able to discern. He extends himself into that which he finds coherent and is at home there”
– Michael Polanyi, “Meaning”, 1975
What is the purpose of human endeavour? It’s not just knowledge. We seek beauty , expression, joy and delight. Art, music, literature and dance light up the world and lift up the heart, and it isn’t through knowledge, not in any standard or commonly shared meaning of the word.
There is a further issue with the term “knowledge”. The standard definition is “justified true belief” – but this doesn’t fit in pursuits like philosophy, theology and history, where interpretivism reigns.
“Making meaning” is a better term for what we do in our disciplines. We do the things we do to find patterns, rules, laws and principles, but also to make loveliness, humour, stories and sense. Out of the near-infinite data set…
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