F.A. Hayek's theory of mind and theory of cultural evolution revisited: Toward and integrated perspective [Book Review]

Mind and Society 2 (1):149-162 (2001)
F.A. Hayek’s theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first learning process describes his Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayek’s thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and —depending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhood—eventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs
Keywords Theory of mind  dispositions  cultural evolution  cultural learning  local interaction
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