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Tradition v. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, and Others

Tradition V. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, And Others

In the first half of the twentieth century, the rationalist tide had reached its high mark[1]. For example, in architecture and city planning, rationalism would sweep away that unnecessary clutter of old prejudices that restrained traditional architecture and customary urban organization and build the modern, functional buildings and communities that people truly needed.[2] Traditional work practices were to be rejected and replaced by scientific ones.[3] And the Soviet Union was seen as setting an example for the world as a society transformed into a utopia by tossing aside all attachment to atavistic customs and ancient moral relics and proceeding to design social affairs from rational, first principles.[4]

But the Holocaust, the Gulag, the failure of urban renewal projects, and other dismal outcomes of rationalist programs have considerably dimmed its popularity.[5] However, the evidence of those practical failures would not have been as convincing as it was—perhaps it was the case that we just had not found the proper rationalist program yet?—if not for the existence of a theoretical diagnosis of the malady. That diagnosis was provided by a number of thinkers in the twentieth century. The aim of this collection is to compare and contrast the ideas of some of these leading critics of rationalism: Hans-Georg Gadamer, F.A. Hayek, Aurel Kolnai, Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Oakeshott, Michael Polanyi, Gilbert Ryle, Eric Voegelin, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. While each can be seen as a critic of rationalism, were they each attacking the same thing? In what senses did their analyses overlap, and in what senses did they differ? Clarifying these issues, as the chapters in this volume attempt to do, will provide important insights into this major intellectual trend of the past century.

“Rationalism” is an overloaded term. In mainstream analytical history of philosophy, it is often used as a contrast class to “empiricism.”[6] “Rationalists” believe that “pure reason” gives us the best guide to truth, while “empiricists” favor experience. In this usage, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz are “rationalists,” while Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume are characterized as “empiricists.” While we do not object to this use of “rationalism,” it is only tangentially related to what we wish to address in this volume. In fact, both rationalism and empiricism, in the above sense, share a central tendency extensively criticized by the thinkers we cover. As Mark Mitchell writes in his contribution to this work, “The twin streams of early modern philosophy, rationalism and empiricism, both rejected dependence on tradition and authority.”

Instead, the notion of “rationalism” we are dealing with is about the relationship of the abstract and the concrete. The “rationalists” being criticized by the thinkers we examine believe that thought is abstract thought, and that theory should be able to direct practice. The common thread connecting our critics of rationalism is that each of them, in one way or another, criticized “abstract thought” not in and of itself, but insofar as it tried to replace “concrete thought,” tradition, or evolved moral rules, as a guide to how people actually should behave or how they actually should evaluate certain proposals. (One thing that differentiates these thinkers is to what exactly they contrast rationalism.) So, as a preliminary effort at clarifying what “rationalism” means, let us describe how we understand the “rationalism” that each of our thinkers criticizes, if not explicitly, then at least implicitly.

Hans-Georg Gadamer’s development of philosophical hermeneutics was a critical achievement against the rationalism that at times sought to dominate the social sciences and humanities in the last century.[7] Gadamer defended the possibility of truth in these fields of human endeavor and knowledge, while denying that there was a definitive method for apprehending and articulating it. While he was sometimes accused of relativism (for instance, by Leo Strauss), he resolutely denied the charge, insisting that there was an alternative to scientific rationalism and relativism.[8] In his greatest work, Truth and Method, Gadamer argued that it is a mistake to try to establish scientific knowledge as the archetype of all knowledge, as this ignores the possibility for truth being known through the contingency and finitude of human existence, rather than in spite of it.

F.A. Hayek developed his critique of rationalism in the context of defeating the socialist planner’s pretense that one could rationally direct the entirety of a society’s economic activity according to a plan worked out from purely theoretical knowledge of that society: no knowledge of “the circumstances of time and place” was necessary, according to the socialist planner.[9] Unlike, for instance, Oakeshott or MacIntyre, Hayek tended to see the complement of rationalism as nonrational, rather than as a different form of reason from abstract thought.

Aurel Kolnai strived to steer clear of both a Settembrinian creed of Reason and a Naphta-style cult of Irrationalism.[10] His lifelong commitment was to phenomenological objectivism. He asserted that there is an objective moral order consisting of positive values that we are called to experience and make sense of in our moral life; and that there are prohibitions which make us alert to moral evil. He also stressed the importance of ordinary experience and common sense as antidotes to rationalism. His criticism of rationalism, especially robust in his writings on the utopian mind, aimed at showing that a fully rational human world, where everything was automatically rendered good, exterminates our moral capability of choosing between good and evil.

Alasdair MacIntyre’s chief rationalist target was Enlightenment, or “encyclopedic,” morality, which claimed that it can work out moral behavior from abstract principles, without an irrational reliance on moral customs and habits.[11] He argued that Enlightenment rationalism, rather than being the tradition-free pure reasoning that it purported to be, was itself a tradition, one that valued continual argumentation over historically established ethical principles as representing the highest moral virtue.

For Michael Oakeshott, rationalism was first and foremost the attempt to dispense with practical know-how by substituting for it an abstraction drawn from practice.[12] Such an attempt has no possibility of success, but it can nevertheless have pernicious consequences for those who try to pursue this ideal. He saw rationalism as having an especially strong hold on politics, as the practitioners may not directly suffer the consequences of their faulty decision making themselves—they have no “skin in the game,” as Nassim Nicholas Taleb would put it—but can impose those effects on others.[13]

Michael Polanyi did not employ the term “rationalism,” instead calling the trend he opposed “objectivism,” by which he meant the belief that the only true human knowledge was what was scientifically or logically demonstrable.[14] That view is false, he argued, because all such “provable” knowledge rests on things we know but cannot prove. His argument here is similar to Wittgenstein’s case that the ability to follow explicit rules rests upon a “way of life” that cannot be stated as a rule without invoking an infinite regress. It also bears a resemblance to Oakeshott’s contention that the rationalist cannot really act according to rationalist dictums, but will instead unwittingly fall back upon some tradition of behavior. Polanyi drew a distinction between knowledge that can be explicitly stated, and “tacit knowledge,” or knowing how to do something, perhaps without being able to state in rules or abstract principles exactly what one knows, in this regard making an argument closely akin to Ryle’s distinction between “knowing that” and “knowing how.”

Gilbert Ryle’s critique of rationalism focused on the claim made by many modern epistemologists that all knowledge can be reduced to “knowing that…” statements, while Ryle instead insisted that there are multiple forms of knowledge that cannot be reduced to mere statements of fact.[15] Indeed, questions about “knowing how” to do something (e.g. hit a baseball, ride a bicycle, speak Spanish, play the mandolin, formulate a scientific hypothesis) were not reducible to statements of fact at all. He associated the reductionist argument with a misguided notion about the relevance of the methods of the natural sciences to other forms of knowing.

Eric Voegelin did not employ the term “rationalism” much, and instead attacked “ideology” and “scientism.”[16] While there is some difference in meaning here, there is also common ground: to Oakeshott, “rationalism in politics” presents itself as ideologies. In fact, a good definition of an ideology would be an attempt to conduct politics according to a theory, rather than guided by practical reason. And Voegelin understood ideologies to be destructive, for one reason, because they denigrated “common sense” and pragmatism, so that we would sensibly see Oakeshott and Voegelin both as advocates of “practical politics” as opposed to ideological ones.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s main rationalist target was the attempt to turn thought, and in particular philosophical thought, into pure formalism.[17] He noted that, for instance, our ability to follow a rule cannot have a merely formal foundation, but rested in a way of life that gave meaning to the formal specification. Since another term for a “way of life” would be “a tradition,” the affinity between Wittgenstein’s thought and that of our other thinkers should be clear.

Having briefly reviewed what rationalism meant to the thinkers we discuss in this volume, let us take a brief look at each chapter it contains.

Grant Havers’s chapter, “Wittgenstein and the Athens-Jerusalem Conflict” addresses the problem of the “two Wittgensteins”: the young positivist who wrote the Tractatus, and the latter thinker who was skeptical about the power of abstract thought, and at times even seemed skeptical of the whole philosophical venture. Havers sets his examination of Wittgenstein in the context of the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem highlighted by Leo Strauss. He asks whether, by Wittgenstein’s later-life embrace of the “Jerusalem” side of the conflict with “Athens,” he had not, in fact, abandoned philosophy completely in favor of faith.

Seeking his answer chiefly in Wittgenstein’s work Culture and Value because it “represents Wittgenstein’s deepest reflections on the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem.,” Havers sees that work as containing Wittgenstein’s “subtle defense of the ontological argument” for the existence of God and believes that this argument, as understood by Wittgenstein, “helps us truly understand what is at stake in the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem.” Havers provocatively suggests that Wittgenstein, in the end, finds the ontological argument to be one that shortcuts the dualism of religion versus philosophy, as it employs philosophical reasoning to demonstrate that God is not an empirical object that science could discover “out there” in the world, and that faith in God, once properly understood as an attitude towards life, is at least as “rational” as scientific materialism. True philosophy and genuine religious faith are actually allies, both opposed to “the idols of God and Man.”

David Corey’s chapter, “Voegelin on Ideology,” asks what the nature of Voegelin’s “spiritual critique of ideology” was, given that it was “not exactly” Christian? Corey notes that, despite the fact that Voegelin relied on the classical, Jewish, and Christian traditions to “establish a standard of “healthy” (non-ideological) consciousness, Voegelin came to see that Christianity itself was implicated in ideology’s rise. . .Without the rise and fall of Christian hegemony in the West, there would be no ideological mass movements.” However, “ideology” does not mean simply any ideas any person might hold, but a system of ideas that misrepresent the human condition. Most modern political movements share the characteristic of “forcing upon human nature an ill-fitting framework and then prescribing . . . violent action . . .” to make human beings fit the “Procrustean Bed” they have created. But why has this happened?

The answer comes from a consideration of “the open soul,” and the difficulty of living in this state of tension. Such a soul recognizes that human existence involves a craving for answers to questions that cannot be answered. To the contrary, ideology succeeds by pretending to provide easy answers to these hard questions. To dodge the tension that is part of openness, the ideologue attempts to force closure, by embracing a phony answer and then re-interpreting reality in order to make it comport with that answer.

Daniel Sportiello’s chapter, “Rationalism in Voegelin,” examines what, exactly, “rationalism” meant to Voegelin. He invokes the idea of an “Axial Age,” first formulated by Karl Jaspers, as a way of differentiating what, for Voegelin, was truly reasonable, as opposed to what modern rationalists consider to be reasonable. As Sportiello describes the situation, prior to the Axial Age, the human good “was a matter of attaining the material: at the risk of caricature, happiness meant more food, drink, wives, sons, and daughters—and, once they became relevant, more money and possessions.” To the contrary, the great figures of the Axial Age, such as Buddha, Lao-Tse, Plato, Confucius, Zoroaster, and Isaiah, held that human flourishing depended upon adherence to a transcendental order that might entail sacrificing material well-being to conform to that order. Rather than treating all other humans as competitors, whose achievement of the good would tend to block one’s own such achievement, to achieve true happiness required respecting the “golden rule” of treating others as one would oneself wish to be treated.

In that for Voegelin, as for Jaspers, the Axial Age was an advance in human consciousness, “what is authentically rational is what is axial.” Thus, for Voegelin, “‘rationalism,’ as the word is usually used today, indicates what is, according to Voegelin, irrational.” For rationalist theorists, “rooting society in the axial conception of happiness was a sort of madness”; and the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries rationalists would cite the English Civil War and the Thirty Years’ War as evidence for that contention. But, as Sportiello notes, Voegelin offers an alternative explanation for these conflicts: “Tired of waiting for heaven—that is, for a condition where the transcendent would no more have to compromise with the immanent—these men and women [of the European wars of religion] tried to render it here on earth. Because this cannot be done, they could not agree on how to do it; because they could not agree on how to do it—and yet agreed that it needed to be done—they tore one another to shreds.”

Colin Cordner’s chapter analyzes the differences between Voegelin’s and Polanyi’s views on scientism, which should be understood as a major species of rationalism: the abstractions of science are the only valid way to understand the human experience, and all of its rivals must either “become scientific” or fade away. For Cordner, scientism is part of the modern “revolt against reality,” in that it denies the “luminosity of consciousness”: the person attempting to adopt the scientist view ignores the fact that he is himself a crucial aspect of reality. As Polanyi pointed out, the scientist stance attempts to subject everything to doubt, a stance which, if actually adopted, would make science impossible: science proceeds first by “commitment . . . and personal knowledge,” with doubt being simply an auxiliary tool to the scientist’s “commitment to truth.” Cordner concludes that Polanyi and Voegelin are “fully in agreement” on the nature of scientism, with their apparent differences coming down to a matter of terminological choices.

In the next chapter, Mark Mitchell compares the attitude of Voegelin and Polanyi to the problem of faith. The notion of faith relates to rationalism as follows: the rationalist typically contends that we must never, on pain of being condemned as “irrational,” rely on any notions that cannot be demonstrated, empirically or logically, as being true, or at least probable. But, as Mitchell shows, both Polanyi and Voegelin demonstrate that this idea is incoherent and argues that Polanyi’s and Voegelin’s critiques of rationalism dovetail nicely. Both thinkers also offer similar critiques of the societal effects of the current dominance of rationalism. The link between rationalism and totalitarianism arises from the fact that “scientistic men are at liberty to attempt to re-create human nature in a more suitable fashion than that which had been previously tolerated.” And since scientism, or objectivism, rejects all traditional moral restraints as atavisms to be overcome, there were no limits on the tactics these men could employ to create this “new man”: the Gulag, the killing fields, and concentration camps were all just ways to rid humanity of the “reactionary” elements who resisted the various rationalist visions.

Timothy Fuller’s contribution juxtaposes how Strauss, Oakeshott, and Voegelin differed in their understanding of Thomas Hobbes, one of the great philosopher of rationalism. Strauss saw a fundamental continuity between Hobbes and the classical tradition of political philosophy while Voegelin appreciated Hobbes’s effort to dampen the fanaticism that the religious schisms of his time had produced. But Voegelin argued that Hobbes’s attempt ultimately came up short, as questions of “ultimate meaning” cannot be continually banished from politics, but will repeatedly arise in new political movements resisting the banishment of the sacred from political life. Oakeshott, meanwhile, understood Hobbes as the first great thinker to seriously grapple with the modern condition of a polity composed of individuals with fundamentally divergent worldviews. His interpretation, contrasted to Voegelin’s, demonstrates the greater allure liberalism had for Oakeshott than for Voegelin.

Kenneth McIntyre’s chapter examines the similar critiques of rationalism offered by Oakeshott and his English contemporary, Gilbert Ryle. Ryle’s masterwork, The Concept of Mind, received a favorable review from Oakeshott, although he did criticize it for offering a somewhat shallow characterization of idealism. Nevertheless, the reviewer clearly felt that Ryle’s critique of contemporary doctrines of mind as a “ghost in the machine” were largely in agreement with his own work on rational conduct. Neither thinker thought that action could possibly come about as it should per the rationalist account: no one could “rationally,” with an empty slate mind, simply think about some activity, prior to having engaged in it, and then go about it with mastery.

In spite of their similarities, the two thinkers differed in some important ways. As McIntyre notes, Oakeshott had a much more robust conception of the “modes” in which thought might appear than did Ryle, who simply noted that we quite properly think about different areas of life employing different ways of proceeding. And the philosophical basis for Oakeshott’s critique of rationalism is more explicit: it stems from his British Idealist roots. Ryle, a serious student of phenomenological philosophy, mentioned that his attack on the ghost in the machine might be understood as a work of phenomenology, but did not stress this connection, something that might be viewed as either a weakness or a strength in his approach, depending on one’s view of the importance of philosophical grounding for an epistemology. Despite these differences, Oakeshott and Ryle can be seen as twin sons of different mothers, both working to undermine the same, prevalent misconception of the nature of the mental.

Ferenc Hörcher seeks to compare the Oakeshott’s understanding of practical knowledge with that of Alasdair MacIntyre. Both of them adopted a more-or-less Aristotelian approach, one which sees phronesis (practical understanding) as a valid and distinct form of understanding from theory. Hörcher suggests that both Oakeshott and MacIntyre are important in offering distinct alternatives to the “apolitical” political philosophy of John Rawls, who took “both the external security and the internal governability of the US or Europe as virtually unproblematic,” thus in essence simply assuming that the most central political questions were all settled in favor of liberalism. The only problem that remained was just how much wealth redistribution should take place in a liberal regime.

Hörcher cites Oakeshott’s definition of rationalism: “Rationalism is the assertion that what I have called practical knowledge is not knowledge at all.” Following from that assertion, the rationalist replaces the belief in “a beneficent and infallible God” with belief in beneficent and infallible techniques for obtaining true understanding. Quite similarly, MacIntyre contrasts a pre-Enlightenment moral culture based upon “practical beliefs and supporting habits of thought, feeling, and action” with one in which “external standards” are supposed to guide our moral judgments, but repeatedly fail to resolve actual moral conflicts. Hörcher points out that MacIntyre’s communitarian approach to politics differs in many respects from Oakeshott’s more individualistic one; nevertheless, their Aristotelian understandings of the distinction between theory and practice have many similarities.

In the next chapter, Nathanael Blake contends that the work of Gadamer and MacIntyre shows us how to avoid the complementary dangers of rigid moral certitude and spineless moral relativism. Both Gadamer and MacIntyre (who has drawn heavily on Gadamer in his own writing) argue that accepting the historically contingent nature of all of our moral reasoning does not imply that any old moral position is just as good as any other one. Both thinkers hold that tradition, far from being an obstacle to reason, is, in fact, its necessary ground: we can reason at all only by having become educated in a tradition that instructs us in how to do so. Furthermore, in moral reasoning the concrete is always more important than the abstract. In the end, Blake finds MacIntyre’s viewpoint more comprehensive than Gadamer’s, in that the latter is dismissive of natural law theories of morality, while the former finds a place for them as the ground rules for any engagement in moral reasoning with others.

In “Was Hayek a Rationalist?” John von Heyking argues that Hayek sees rationalism as “the effort to replace practical reason guided by experience with abstract rules generated by theoretical reason.” When the rationalist turns to politics, he seeks to order political society like a geometry exercise, and ignores the “messiness, tensions, and ambiguities of political life.” Heyking next turns to an admirer and critic of Hayek, Tom Flanagan, to help answer his titular question. Flanagan appreciates Hayek’s “immanent” inquiry into the roots of social order, but he holds that Hayek’s approach cannot reach as deep into those roots as can Voegelin’s “transcendent” approach.

While Hayek’s appreciation for the spontaneous order of the “Great Society” (of a globe-spanning market order) is a genuine insight, his work still comes up short in two respects: 1) his vision of the Great Society relies on the Kantian principle that we must treat other humans as ends in themselves, and not mere means to our own ends; however, in reality, given how thin is our knowledge of other individuals in the Great Society, all we can realistically do is treat them as means; and 2) Hayek is also unsatisfactory in that he provides no explanation of how individuals, embedded in a vast social order they can only partially comprehend, can nevertheless deliberately set about improving that order. Heyking concludes that this sort of “system-building is the rationalist dream.” While a perceptive critic of the worst aspects of rationalism, Hayek himself could not fully escape its siren call.

In Gene Callahan’s chapter, his central thesis is that, while Oakeshott’s and Hayek’s understanding of rationalism bear similarities, there are also important differences that are, perhaps, even more important than the similarities. Furthermore, the differences are comprehensible when understood as arising from the two thinkers’ different philosophical outlooks: Hayek’s emergent materialism and Oakeshott’s idealism. Given his outlook, Hayek must understand rationalism as the attempt to handle, with reason, areas of human life that are inherently “nonrational.” Oakeshott, by contrast, conceives rationalism as the attempt to apply abstract reason, and in particular scientific abstractions, to problems that can only be handled through practical reasoning.

The final chapter is by Zoltan Balazs who compares the moral thinking of the Hungarian philosopher and political theorist Aurel Kolnai with that of Oakeshott. Despite broad areas of agreement between the two—both are, in some sense, conservative, and both are critical of the modern rationalist rejection of habit and custom—Balazs finds that Kolnai provides something Oakeshott lacks: a robust, non-relativistic conception of the good, and a positive view of the role that a (non-rationalist) moral philosophy might provide in shoring up that conception.

Tradition v. Rationalism does not cover every critic of rationalism (for instance, the Frankfurt School and thinkers like Paul Feyerabend are absent) but it does include major thinkers of the twentieth century who believed that tradition should still have a place in the world because it was a repository of wisdom. As our lives becomes increasingly dominated by various forms of rationalities–whether political, technological, economic, or cultural—we need to ask ourselves whether this is the type of world in which we want to live; and if not, how can we critique and propose an alternative to it? The above-mentioned thinkers provide us a starting point on our journey towards thinking about how we can have a more hopeful, humane, and brighter future.



[1]. We would like to thank Zoltán Balázs, Nathanael Blake, and Kenneth McIntyre for their assistance in writing this introduction.

[2]. Structural rationalism gave rise to modernism which dominated architecture for most of the twentieth century. Italian architects were especially central to the rise of structural rationalism. Jacqueline Gargus, From Futurism to Rationalism: The Origins of Modern Italian Architecture (New York: A.C. Papadakis, 1981) and Andrew Peckham and Torsten Schmiedeknecht, The Rationalist Reader: Architecture and Rationalism in Western Europe 1920–1940 / 1960–1990 (New York: Routledge, 2013). An example of modernism is Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture (New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston, 2003). For more about rationalism in urban planning, see Gene Callahan and Sanford Ikeda, “Jane Jacob’s Critique of Rationalism in Urban Planning,” Taxi and Cosmos 1/3 (2014): 10–19.

[3]. One of the most influential works on this topic is Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York: Cosmos Classics, 2010) with Fordism as seen as the epitome of organizing work according to rational principles. Bernard Doray, From Taylorism to Fordism: A Rational Madness (London: Free Assn Books, 1990).

[4]. For example, see John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World (New York: Boni and Liverigh, 1919) and Lloyd Billingsley, Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s (Rosville, CA: Prima Publishing, 1998).

[5]. Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993); George Ritzer, The McDonalization of Society (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 1993); Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2002).

[6]. For more about rationalism and its relationship to empiricism and other schools of thought, refer to Bruce Aune, Rationalism, Empiricism, and Pragmatism (New York: Random House, 1970); Robert Adams, “Where Do Our Ideas Come From? Descartes vs Locke,” in Stephen Stitch, ed., Innate Ideas (Berkley: California University Press, 1975); Laurence BonJour, In Defense of Pure Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Albert Casullo, A prior Knowledge and Justification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

[7]. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Reason in the Age of Science (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983); Truth and Method (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013). Also see Robert J. Dostal, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Gadamer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

[8]. For more about this debate, see Ryan R. Holston, “The Poverty of the Antihistoricism: Strauss and Gadamer in Dialogue,” Modern Age, 58/2 (2016): 43–55.

[9]. Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944); The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960); Law, Legislation, and Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976).

[10]. Aurel Kolnai, “The Sovereignty of the Object,” in Francis Dunlop and Brian Klug, ed. Ethics, Value and Reality (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1978); “The Standard Modes of Aversion: Fear, Disgust and Hatred.” Mind, 107 (1998):581–95.

[11]. Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981); Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, and Tradition (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990).

[12]. Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991).

[13]. Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (New York: Random House, 2018).

[14]. Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966); Knowing and Being (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969); Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974).

[15].Gilbert Ryle, “Systematically Misleading Expressions,” in Logic and Language, 1st Series, Antony Flew ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1952); Dilemmas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954); The Concept of Mind. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).

[16]. Eric Voegelin, “The Origins of Scientism.” Social Research, 15/4 (1948): 462–94; The New Science of Politics in Modernity Without Restraint, Collected Works, Volume 5 (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1999).

[17]. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures & Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology, and Religious Belief (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967); Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (London: Routledge, 1974); Philosophical Investigations (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).


This excerpt is from Tradition v. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, and Others (Lexington Books, 2018). Our review of the book is here.

Lee Trepanier and Gene CallahanLee Trepanier and Gene Callahan

Lee Trepanier and Gene Callahan

Lee Trepanier is a Professor of Political Science at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Gene Callahan is a research fellow at the Collingwood Centre at Cardiff University and a Lecturer in Economics at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. They are co-editors of Tradition v. Rationalism: Voegelin, Oakeshott, Hayek, and Others (Lexington Books, 2018).

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