chapter  7
17 Pages

Return of the Lure of the Explicit: ‘Making the Implicit Explicit’

It is easy to imagine that apologists for the status quo-who I have been calling the ‘managerialists’—might have been reading Chapter 6 with mounting indignation. For in the neo-Aristotelian picture I have described, I have drawn attention to the ways in which implicit knowledge is embodied in action and is integral to practical judgment. The man in the example we discussed in the last chapter (Section 6.7) did not try to conform his reasoning to a generic model of decision-making; he did not rely on explicit targets to know what to do. And yet could identify his ‘objective’—his ‘end’ (telos, the ‘that for the sake of which’) and act on it. The kind of practical ‘know-how’ it took to do this he owed to his formation and to the virtues of professional formation associated with his métier. In the process of deliberating and reasoning, he exemplifi ed what I called métier-phronesis, the structural counterpart of the Aristotelian notion of phronesis. The point of the example was to show that those judgments we commonly refer to as professional judgments-judgments made in specifi c contexts in response to particular problems, incidents, or events-require a phronetic kind of practical reasoning. A linear, cause-and-effect, ‘hit-the-target-here’show-to-do-it’ kind of reasoning is not always the appropriate professional response to complex situations.