Yeah, We Already Knew That

Via the Blogora today, a piece in Newsweek on evolution and irrationality. It probably shouldn't irk me that the piece makes no mention of rhetoricians, but it does (its got philosophers and cognitive scientists, but no rhetoricians). Its clear the article wishes for a rational world (which, if I remember my Jonathan Swift, isn't necessarily utopian), but at least it concludes recognizing (somewhat) the priority of human emotion.

I wish, however, that the article lived up to its title and endorsed our "fallen" emotional flaws as a necessary component to social and cultural development. I was writing today about Burke and Alphonso Lingis--respectively the ideas that identification requires division and that the construction of a "universal rational community" requires the exclusion of the strange(r). In both cases, there is a recognition that the violence of exclusion is essential to any act of defining, and the hope that we can acknowledge such an act--live up to it, so to speak.


pure_sophist_monster said...

Most pieces like this end up being disappointing: they are written by nostalgic rationalists. The first clue is generally the use of the word "irrational."

Insignificant Wrangler said...

Yeah, that should have been a clue. Sigh.