There is reason, or rationality; but there is also irrationality, and
third, there is the 'cunning of
reason'. M. Hollis, quoting Popper, wrote a
whole book about that, "The Cunning of Reason".
The idea is
post-Kantian, Hegelian, and pre-Darwinian, but it is based on a
side of things, which may be rewritten as an evolutionary view
For Hegel (and recall that for Grice the most important
Ariskant, and Platgel), the Geist is similar to the
culture of people, and
is CONSTANTLY RE-WORKING ITSELF [i.e. 'evolving,' in
Popperian parlance] to
keep up with the changes of society, while at the
working to produce those changes through what he (Hegel)
"cunning of reason" (List der Vernunft).
is like Popper's objective knowledge, only different. There
is an entry for
'cunning of reason' in Magee's book. This is not the Magee
quotes, but the "New World" Magee, as I call him: G. A. Magee,
and the book
is "The Hegel Dictionary", published in the Old World, London
Continuum International Publishing Group.
(Related to Hegel's cunning of
reason is his focus on world history, rather
than regional or state history.
Thinkers such as Herder and Fichte had
written on the concept and
importance of world history and nationalism.
Hegel's philosophy continues
this trend, while breaking away from an emphasis on
striving rather to grasp the full sweep of human cultural
history as a manifestation of spirit.
How the cunning of reason relates
to irrationality and Cosmides and Wason
Hegel is ironically
interestingly clear about this.
interest of passion is thus inseparable from the active
development of a
general principle: for it is from the special and determinate
and from its
negation, that the Universal results. Particularity contends
with its like,
and some loss is involved in the issue. It is not the general
idea that is
implicated in opposition and combat, and that is exposed to
remains in the background, untouched and uninjured."
------- "This may be
called the cunning of reason,"
-------— that it sets the passions to work for
itself, while that which
develops its existence through such impulsion pays
the penalty and suffers
loss. For it isphenomenal being that is so treated,
and of this, part is of no
value, part is positive and real. The particular
is for the most part of
too trifling value as compared with the general:
individuals are sacrificed
and abandoned. The Idea pays the penalty of
determinate existence and of
corruptibility, not from itself, but from the
passions of individuals."
There was a time when at Oxford, for a
philosopher, to be Hegelian was to
be 'in' -- 'the thing to be': Bradley,
Bosanquet, were Hegelians and proud
of it. Russell, who was Cantabrigian,
even had this influence. When Grice
arrived at Oxford, these waves of
Hegelianism had subsided, and a few year
laters, after his student Strawson
started to lecture on Kant ("The bounds of
sense"), many thought the 'in'
thing to be was "Kantian". Of course Hegel
is possibly parodying Kant's
critique of pure reason when he calls his
thing the 'cunning of reason'. In
other words, you cannot understand Hegel
without understanding Kant, and
you cannot understand Kant without
understanding Aristotle, and you cannot
understand Aristotle without understanding
Thales. (It is a good thing that
Thales is the first philosopher, otherwise we
couldn't understand anything,
as per Peano, inductive infinite regress).
But perhaps we still don't
understand Cosmides, and as per McEvoy, perhaps
she doesn't understand
Darwin (as Popper does).
ps. The exercise
of "You cannot understand Mr. B unless you understand Mr.
A" I call the
"You-cannot-understand-Mr-B-unless-you-understand-Mr.B". It may
do to apply it to Grice and Popper, and Geary and Elvis
Presley (and you
can change 'understand' for 'feel'). It applies to poets,
too! -- and "all
famous authors in swarms" (such as "Somerset and all the
quote from Noel Coward.