Is there implicit knowledge in the perception of simple objects?

Apr 2021
Hello everyone,

I just read the book ''Personal Knowledge'' by Michael Polanyi and was fascinated by his idea of tacit knowledge. I understand that there is tacit knowledge involved in activities like speaking or riding a bicycle. But what about the perception of normal objects. Is there also implicit knowledge involved?

For example: When I see a tiger in front of me, I become instantly scared. I don't think consciously that the tiger is dangerous, and it might kill me. But if I would reflect in that situation and ask myself, why I am scared of the tiger, I could verbalize it by saying explicitly: Because Tigers might kill people.

But let's say a child encounters a tiger. It doesn't know anything about the tiger and its dangerousness. So it doesn't get scared of the tiger. So obviously the fear of the tiger has to do with our knowledge about it. But where is this knowledge at the moment where the tiger is in front of us. Is it implicit?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts
Apr 2021
We have genetic programs informing our reactions to certain things. Heights are one. In terms of animals, some people are scared of spiders and/or snakes at first sight. That would have to be genetic since it cannot be environmental.