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Polanyian Perspective on “The Abolition of Man”

The Abolition of Man is sometimes viewed as an attack on science. Anticipating this criticism, Lewis states that his remarks are not an attack on science but instead a defense of value—the value, among other things, of science. Lewis goes on to suggest that science might itself be the remedy for the dark moral malady that The Abolition of Man accounts for and describes. The purpose of this paper is to show that, in the work of Michael Polanyi, Lewis’s aspirations regarding the curative powers of science are in fact realized. Polanyi not only demonstrates the bankruptcy of scientism, but he does so in a manner that, while revealing the inspiring character of genuine science, greatly clarifies Lewis’s project.