The present essay aims to account for F.A. Hayek's oft-noted 'turn' away from technical economics to concerns of a more philosophical nature. In particular, the paper seeks an explanatory principle that reconciles various elements of both continuity and discontinuity in Hayek's intellectual development, especially with respect to the evolution of his arguments concerning economic fluctuations. The essay uncovers such an explanatory principle in Hayek's own methodology of sciences of complex phenomena. According to this principle, an inquirer who confronts phenomena too (...) complex for adequate explanation on the basis of current knowledge must move to a more general, albeit less testable, explanation. This is precisely what occurred in the evolution of Hayek's thought concerning trade cycles. The concluding section considers the implications of the argument for the extensive secondary literature on Hayek's 'transformation'. (shrink)
This is the first section of a five part essay dealing with economics from the perspective of Ernst Cassirer's cultural philosophy. In this first section, I try to demonstrate how the human concern with meaning is distorted in our commercial society into a purely economic sense of reality that displaces other forms of meaning. This distortion and displacement are at the heart of the social, cognitive and spiritual dysfunctions that currently plague us. The "Leverage of Meaning" will prepare the ground (...) for the formulation of the economic as a symbolic form in order to hopefully find some guidance in Cassirer's thought for restoring economy to its rightful cultural function. (shrink)
John Tomasi's new book, Free Market Fairness, has been well-received as "one of the very best philosophical treatments of libertarian thought, ever" and as a "long and friendly conversation between Friedrich Hayek and John Rawls—a conversation which, astonishingly, reaches agreement". The book does present an authoritative state-of-the-debate across the spectrum from right-libertarianism on the one side to high liberalism on the other side. My point is not to question where Tomasi comes down with his own version of "market democracy" as (...) a remix of Hayek and Rawls. My point is to use his sympathetic restatements of views across the liberal spectrum to show the basic misframings and common misunderstandings that cut across the liberal-libertarian viewpoints surveyed in the book. As usual, the heart of the debate is not in the answers to carefully framed questions, but in the framing itself. (shrink)
This article argues that cruelty, as a willingness to see or orchestrate the suffering of others, is not an unfortunate side-effect of neoliberal theories put into practice but is constitutive of the neoliberal project from its theoretical inception. Drawing on Lisa Duggan’s concept of ‘optimistic cruelty’ and treating the canonical texts of neoliberal economic theory as literary artefacts, the article develops this argument through a close reading of one of the central architects of the neoliberal project, the philosopher and economist (...) Friedrich Hayek. The first part of the article examines how Hayek attempts to justify the brutality of the market order he imagines – the catallaxy – by arguing that this brutality is the natural consequence of the spontaneous evolutionary processes that move civilisation forward. The second part brings to the fore the eugenicist undertones that suffuse this vision, despite Hayek’s apparent rejection of Social Darwinism. I analyse how Hayek’s market order operates through a series of disciplinary and biopolitical technologies that use pain, frustration, punishment and stigmatisation to eliminate bad habits, practices and subjectivities. These cruel mechanisms enable the catallaxy to sort between productive and unproductive lives to ensure that available resources are directed towards the former – even if it means that the others might be left to die. As such, cruelty is an affective atmosphere that permeates the catallaxy. (shrink)
The founding fathers of neoliberalism are usually imagined as very rational neoclassical economists uninterested in cultural and religious issues. The aim of this paper is to paint a different picture by discussing the ideas of (neo)liberal economists regarding spiritual heritage, with an emphasis on eastern religions. Starting from the existing historiographical debate on the role of Daoist notions in the birth of political economy in 18th-century Europe, as an example of cultural transfer par excellence, argumentation develops into a comparative analysis (...) of philosophical underpinnings of modern laissez-faire liberalism and neoliberalism. The main thesis of the paper is that important epistemological differences between analysed doctrines imply the differences in the attitude of modern economic liberalism towards religion, which is demonstrated via examples of appropriations and translations of eastern heritage. This is a preliminary analysis but with the potential to shed new light on the political theology of contemporary culture and neoliberalism itself. (shrink)
Le silence observé par John Rawls à propos des thèses de Friedrich Hayek sur la question de la justice sociale est à la fois remarquable et irritant. À défaut de pouvoir s’appuyer sur des textes où Rawls se démarquerait explicitement de ces thèses, il est cependant possible de tenter de tracer la ligne de clivage essentielle entre les deux auteurs : Hayek demeure convaincu que la question de la justice ne peut se poser qu’à propos des actions individuelles, c’est-à-dire dans (...) le domaine du droit privé ou de ce que l’on a appelé la justice corrective et sa démonstration s’appuie sur l’impossibilité de définir une répartition quelconque des ressources comme juste. Rawls affirme, en revanche, qu’il est impossible de définir une transaction interpersonnelle comme juste de manière isolée, et qu’il faut au contraire pour cela que cette transaction prenne place dans une structure sociale juste. Mais loin de concevoir cette justice contextuelle en termes d’allocation de ressources – position que Hayek lui attribue à tort –, il la conçoit en termes de règles de coopération sur lesquelles les partenaires pourraient raisonnablement s’accorder. Le silence de Rawls pourrait donc s’expliquer par le fait qu’il concevait comme une impasse évidente toute tentative pour déterminer les éléments d’une justice commutative ou corrective indépendamment d’une théorie de la justice distributive et que, à ses yeux, il est tout simplement absurde de s’interroger sur la justice d’une transaction – d’un contrat, d’un échange, d’une appropriation – indépendamment du contexte structurel dans lequel elle prend place. Mais il pourrait s’expliquer aussi par le fait que Hayek prend à partie une conception de la justice distributive en termes d’allocation de biens et non en termes de règles de coopération que Rawls lui-même n’a jamais songé à soutenir et qu’il rejette explicitement. (shrink)
Why do corporations and wealthy philanthropists fund the human sciences? Examining the history of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), a private research institute founded in the early 1980s, this article shows that funders can find as much value in the social worlds of the sciences they sponsor as in their ideas. SFI became increasingly dependent on funding from corporations and libertarian business leaders in the 1990s and 2000s. At the same time, its intellectual work came to focus on the underlying (...) principles of adaptation, innovation, and decentralized coordination supposedly at work in ‘complex systems’ from biological ecosystems to markets and firms. This research cast the ideas of the libertarian economist Friedrich Hayek into a new scientific idiom. SFI also became a space where figures in business, media, academia, and politics could come to learn to see the world in a particular way—to acquire the subjectivity of what I call ‘the Santa Fe Institute libertarian’. At SFI, visitors did not simply learn the principles of neo-Hayekian complex system science. They came to see themselves as agents of social evolution, providing the spark that the free-market system needed to produce new technologies and new solutions to social problems without top-down political direction. For the Institute's corporate and libertarian financiers, SFI was not just a space where intellectuals described the world in favored ideological terms, but a space where elite actors became committed to the project of making a new political-economic order. (shrink)
In light of a growing body of scholarship that has cast doubt on the analytic import of spontaneous order, the purpose of my article is to rethink the intellectual relationship between Edmund Burke and Friedrich Hayek by suggesting that reading spontaneous order into Burke’s thought introduces greater tensions between the two thinkers than prior scholars have suggested. One crucial tension, I suggest, is that Hayek believed that contractual arrangements, competitive markets and the rule of law could sustain the growth of (...) social order, while Burke maintained that particular social institutions and practices should remain protected from the full power of voluntary contracts and exchange relations. I conclude by suggesting that the tensions between Hayek and Burke could serve as complementary instruments, rather than as foes, in strengthening the liberal project in modernity. (shrink)
Complexity sciences are one of the most mediatized scientific fields of the last 40 years. While this domain has attracted the attention of many philosophers of science, its normative views have not yet been the object of any systematic study. This article is a contribution to the thin social science literature about complexity sciences and proposes a contribution focused on an analysis of the origins, models, and organization of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), cradle of the field. The paper defends (...) the thesis that the notion of “complex adaptive systems” bears a project of naturalization of society through numerical and evolutionary lenses by promoting a Darwinian and capitalist view of the economy. At the same time, such a view has been embodied in the very way of functioning of the institute, which was conceived as an agile organization in a competitive environment and which relies on a fundraising philosophy that tends to commodify science. From a theoretical viewpoint, this text is anchored in the field of Science and Technology Studies and particularly in the coproductionist paradigm, which theorizes the dynamic entanglement of science and society. In terms of empirical sources, the article is based on interviews conducted by the author, and on the SFI's scientific publications as well as institutional archives. (shrink)
The Austrian School seems to remain outside the debate on the realism of economic models. In principle, given the association of the term “model” with the Chicago School, and also for understanding that Hayek had critized the model of perfect competition as unrealistic. Even though in previous opportunities we showed how the theory of market as a process could be understood as the model of the Austrian School, and that Hayek’s criticism to the model of perfect competition was not so (...) much of unrealistic, but that it was wrongly stated (Zanotti & Borella, 2015), and we developed the ontological foundation of the model in Hayek’s thought (Borella, 2019), in this paper we will show how it is posible to compare pattern predictions with models, and how in this sense, the Austrian School, also seems to get near, even without sufficiently noticing it, to the discussion on models in economics and their realism. Keywords: Realism of models- Hayek- pattern predictions-models . (shrink)
Philosophy & Social Criticism, Volume 48, Issue 3, Page 386-415, March 2022. In light of a growing body of scholarship that has cast doubt on the analytic import of spontaneous order, the purpose of my article is to rethink the intellectual relationship between Edmund Burke and Friedrich Hayek by suggesting that reading spontaneous order into Burke’s thought introduces greater tensions between the two thinkers than prior scholars have suggested. One crucial tension, I suggest, is that Hayek believed that contractual arrangements, (...) competitive markets and the rule of law could sustain the growth of social order, while Burke maintained that particular social institutions and practices should remain protected from the full power of voluntary contracts and exchange relations. I conclude by suggesting that the tensions between Hayek and Burke could serve as complementary instruments, rather than as foes, in strengthening the liberal project in modernity. (shrink)
Friedrich August von Hayek war ein österreichischer Ökonom und Philosoph. In Wien in eine Familie von Akademikern hineingeboren, studierte Hayek zunächst Rechtswissenschaften an der Universität Wien, zeigte aber auch großes Interesse an Psychologie und Volkswirtschaftslehre. So nahm er regelmäßig an Seminaren von Ludwig von Mises Teil und wurde 1921 in Rechtswissenschaften und 1923 in Staatswissenschaften promoviert.
Critical theory has long resisted the notion that an “invisible hand” can operate within the real social dynamics of a free market. But despite the most radical desires of the socially critical imagination, the optimization of that “spontaneous order” or depersonalized way of ordering things known as “the economy” has become the dominant playing field and decisive electoral issue of modern politics. Within this broad contemporary context, Michel Foucault made a strange theoretical intervention that, to this day, continues to baffle (...) readers. During a lecture, he argued that Adam Smith’s invisible hand was, after all, truly and purposively, that is, for technical rather than ideological reasons, “invisible.” This article argues that there is a counter-positivism or tactical irony contained within the logic of such a controversial thesis; namely, that when one acknowledges that the principle of economic competition encourages an efficient self-organizing effect at all times, regardless of context, one is also immediately in a position to appreciate why the art of government should always maintain its political primacy over the spontaneous order of the market. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to analyze the relation between conservatism and the doctrine of economic liberalism from the perspective of Roger Scruton’s critique to Friedrich A. Hayek. We carry out this attempt through three means: first, Hayek’s concepts of negative freedom, spontaneous order, and catallaxy are analyzed; second, the English philosopher’s critique of Hayek is explained; and finally, Scruton’s social and economic theory is presented as a response of the inconsistencies of economic liberalism.
Friedrich Hayek was a fervent advocate of the methodological specificity of the social sciences. However, given his contact with Karl Popper, several historians and philosophers have characterized his final position as Popperian, that is, a position that would have accepted the unity of scientific method. A closer look at Hayek's philosophy and Popper's own intellectual course shows that such a thesis is based on misconceptions that can be overcome by taking the Hayekian concept of 'spontaneous order' as the foundation of (...) a methodology immune to any kind of methodological monism. (shrink)
Given the multiple crises that are occurring after decades of neoliberalism we should take care to examine neoliberalism’s claims and subject them to critical scrutiny. What I propose to do here is to examine some of the philosophical claims made by Friedrich Hayek and then submit them to scrutiny using tools from Hayek’s cousin, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Entender algo sobre un mundo que se nos presenta de modo desordenado e incompleto constituye buena parte de la tarea de la filosofía y de la ciencia. La racionalidad, los modelos, y el mundo social introducen preocupaciones propias de la filosofía de la ciencia en general y de la epistemología de la economía en particular. Los aportes de Popper, Lawson, Mäki, Hayek y Cartwright se expresan en estos trazos como intentos abiertos para alcanzar a comprender nuestro mundo.
How should we design our economic systems? Should we tax the rich at a higher rate than the poor? Should we have a minimum wage? Should the state provide healthcare for all? These and many related questions are the subject of distributive justice, and different theories of distributive justice provide different ways to think about and answer such questions. This book provides a thorough introduction to the main theories of distributive justice and reveals the underlying sources of our disagreements about (...) economic policy. It argues that the universe of theories of distributive justice is surprisingly simple, yet complicated. It is simple in that the main theories of distributive justice are just four in number, and in that these theories each offer a distinct, well-defined theoretical approach to distributive justice; yet it is complicated in that the main theories disagree at several distinct, fundamental levels, and in that it is possible to spin innumerable new theories from the elements of the four main theories. (shrink)
In the debate on realism of models in economics, the Austrian School and Hayekin particular, seem to have, in a certain way, remained outside. Assuming neoclassical models asunrealistic, the theory of the market as a process looks like a more realistic proposal. However, oneof the fundamental issue s in Hayek’s dissent is not so much the unrealism of the assumptions, but that the market equilibrium theory was not correctly raised, especially with regards to the perfectknowledge assumption. Despite this, in this (...) setting and in line with a previous paper (Zanotti & Borella, 2015), we will argue that Hayek’s spontaneous order may be understood as the Austrian School’s “model”, assuming Mäki’s MISS version of models (Models as Isolations and Surrogate Systems) and emphasizing the place of the ontological foundation of Hayek’s proposal when assessing his model. (shrink)
Si bien no es habitual pensar a Hayek en términos de realismo, sino comprenderlo como neokantiano, presentaremos la interpretación realista fenomenológica de Hayek que ofrece Zanotti a lo largo de su obra. Señalaremos los aspectos centrales de la epistemología de Hayek y la lectura realista fenomenológica como una posición superadora tanto del positivismo como de una hermenéutica relativista.
Friedrich Hayek’s defense of neoliberal free market capitalism hinges on the distinction between economies and catallaxies. The former are orders instituted via planning, whereas the latter are spontaneous competitive orders resulting from human action without human design. I argue that this distinction is based on an incomplete semantic history of “economy.” By looking at the meaning of “oikonomia” in medieval providential theology as explained by Giorgio Agamben and Joseph Vogl, I argue how Hayek’s science of catallactics is itself a secularization (...) of providential theology. This exposes Hayek to three criticisms: he unjustifiably neglects the possibility of tendencies toward spontaneous disorder in free markets, he condemns the “losers” of neoliberal competition to being providential waste on the road to general prosperity, and he imposes on people the duty to consent to a neoliberal order that hinders them from cultivating their inoperativity. (shrink)
Karl Polanyi's double movement is a dialectical process characterized by a continuous tension between a movement towards social marketization and a movement towards social protectionism. Notably, Polanyi condemns the former movement while defending the latter. Without using the term " double movement " , F.A Hayek's theory of social evolution acknowledges the same phenomenon but reaches different normative conclusions. While for Polanyi the marketization of society is a utopia with dystopian consequences, Hayek's evolutionary explanation of this dialectical process asserts that (...) there is no alternative to a market oriented society. Both authors defend that their favoured movement is the one that truly supports the continuity of life. This article compares the authors' normative readings of the double movement and concludes that, from an evolutionary perspective, Polanyi's conclusion possesses a robustness that Hayek's postulate lacks. (shrink)
In this paper we will analyze Lawson’s criticism of Hayek for not having transcended positivism. We will distinguish two levels in the criticism: methodological and ontological. So far as methodological criticism is concerned, we consider that Lawson’s positivist interpretation of Hayek regarding the method in economics is not the only possible, and we will try to develop another one. With respect to ontological criticism, we will state that though it is possible to understand Hayek as an ontological positivist, since he (...) assumes an ontological individualism, this fact would not necessarily lead to positivism -question to which Lawson seems to bring Hayek closer after 1955- but a moderate ontological individualism could be assigned to Hayek founded on a realistic interpretation of Husserl’s phenomenology. (shrink)
Les règles de la justice sont, d'après Friedrich Hayek, l'effet d'un ordre spontané et non de la volonté délibérée des hommes. Cette thèse renvoie à une conception de la règle abstraite et générale dont ce livre montre le lien avec les limites de la raison, l'abstraction constituant, selon Hayek, le moyen pour l'esprit de s'occuper d'une réalité que celui-ci ne peut entièrement comprendre. Une "primauté de l'abstrait" s'applique ainsi non seulement à l'ordre social - guidé par les règles abstraites de (...) la justice, mais également à l'ordre sensoriel, c'est-à-dire à notre perception du monde extérieur et aux dispositions à agir qui en résultent. Comment comprendre le lien entre cette primauté de l'abstrait et le libéralisme de Hayek, en particulier concernant sa conception de la "morale du marché" comme discipline des règles abstraites et son rejet de buts particuliers guidant l'action publique? Enfin, Hayek a-t-il eu raison d'attribuer au philosophe empiriste David Hume une telle conception de l'abstraction?"--Page 4 of cover. (shrink)
En este artículo se ofrece una presentación de los aspectos centrales de la concepción del hombre de Hayek y una breve refl exión sobre ella. Primero, se expone su concepción de lo que es el hombre: un ser individualista, cuya evolución histórica conduce a la "sociedad extendida", y creador de normas y tradiciones. A continuación, se caracterizan sus principales dimensiones: la ética es heterónoma y coincide con las reglas sociales; su razón es limitada; la libertad es individual, negativa, y se (...) limita a la libertad económica y, fi nalmente, sostiene que los hombres son naturalmente desiguales. We explain the main aspects of Hayek's conception of man and its intellectual background. The Austrian thinker developed this conception on two levels. On the one hand, he proffers an idea of what man is, namely, an individualist, who evolves from "tribal society" to "extended society", and a creator of norms and traditions. On the other had, he tells how man is, he spells out his chief characters: man's ethics is heteronomous and immanent to the reproduction of society; man's intelligence is limited and his central value is freedom, economically understood. Finally, Hayek maintains that me are naturally unequal. (shrink)
Friedrich Hayek is one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. A 1974 Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Hayek argues for the superiority of the free society over totalitarian, planned societies. Although Hayek arguably hit his target, he missed the bull’s-eye, because he failed to explain government and its prudential limits with reference to a complete view of human nature. This is partly because he failed to recognize that Christianity is the essence of Western civilization.
The paper aims to establish that Terence Hutchison’s argument in The Politics and Philosophy of Economics (1981) to the effect that the young F.A. Hayek maintained a methodological position markedly similar to that of Ludwig von Mises fails to establish the relevant conclusion. The first problem with Hutchison’s argument is that it is not clear exactly what conclusion he meant to establish with regard to the methodological views of the two paragons of 20th century Austrian economics. Mises (in)famously maintained a (...) rather extreme methodological apriorism. However, Hutchison’s argument does not support the claim that Hayek was ever an apriorist of the Misesian variety. The concept of a priori knowledge that emerges from Hayek’s epistemology – specifically the epistemology implied by Hayek’s work in theoretical psychology – is the direct opposite of Mises’ treatment of a priori knowledge. Simply stated, Hayek conceived of a priori knowledge as fallible and relative, while Mises considered a priori knowledge to be infallible and absolute. Thus, it cannot be maintained – if, indeed, Hutchison meant to establish – that Hayek was a Misesian apriorist during the years in question. What’s more, the paper shows that Hutchison’s argument does not support a weaker interpretation of the relevant conclusion. There are alternative interpretations of the evidence adduced by Hutchison that are both more charitable and more in line with Hayek’s epistemology that undermine Hutchison’s conclusion. (shrink)
From the early-1950s on, F.A. Hayek was concerned with the development of a methodology of sciences that study systems of complex phenomena. Hayek argued that the knowledge that can be acquired about such systems is, in virtue of their complexity (and the comparatively narrow boundaries of human cognitive faculties), relatively limited. The paper aims to elucidate the implications of Hayek’s methodology with respect to the specific dimensions along which the scientist’s knowledge of some complex phenomena may be limited. Hayek’s fallibilism (...) was an essential (if not always explicit) aspect of his arguments against the defenders of both socialism ( 1948,  1948) and countercyclical monetary policy ( 1978); yet, despite the fact that his conceptions of both complex phenomena and the methodology appropriate to their investigation imply that ignorance might beset the scientist in multiple respects, he never explicated all of these consequences. The specificity of a scientific prediction depends on the extent of the scientist’s knowledge concerning the phenomena under investigation. The paper offers an account of the considerations that determine the extent to which a theory’s implications prohibit the occurrence of particular events in the relevant domain. This theory of “predictive degree” both expresses and – as the phenomena of scientific prediction are themselves complex in Hayek’s sense – exemplifies the intuition that the specificity of a scientific prediction depends on the relevant knowledge available. (shrink)
The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek–Keynes debate. It is argued that the empirical implications of the relevant theories are such that, regardless of what is observed, both theories can be interpreted as true, or at least, as not falsified. The essay explicates the respects in which the empirical evidence underdetermines the choice between the relevant theories. In particular, it is argued both that there are convenient responses that protect each theory (...) from what appears to be threatening evidence and that, for particular kinds of evidence, the two theories are empirically equivalent. Larry Laudan's suggestion that ampliative methodological criteria can resolve an underdetermined choice between multiple scientific theories is considered and rejected as a possible means to rational consensus. (shrink)
"Friedrich von Hayek and Karl Popper were two of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers, and two of its greatest proponents of freedom and open society. They were also close friends, and even people who are very familiar with their writings often think that their philosophical, economic, and political views are more or less the same. This book, however, argues that Hayek and Popper differed in fundamental ways about rationality, economism, and democracy--and that these differences, and the different ways in which (...) Hayek and Popper argued for them, lie at the heart of political thought and still have significant consequences for our own political discourse today. It argues that Hayek and Popper disagreed about whether and to what extent society is well served by deliberate attempts at government intervention; about whether and to what extent democracy involves majority rule; and, most importantly, about whether we should value freedom for its own sake, as an end in itself, or merely as a means to greater prosperity and wealth. Contrary to Popper, this volume argues that Hayek was prepared to accept socialism--which in his view logically implies totalitarianism--if it could be shown to be at least as efficient and productive as the market; that his concept of freedom is grounded in the same sort of economism that Popper criticized in Marx; and that he proposed reforms to the electoral system that would actually transform a democracy into what Popper would have regarded as a tyranny"--. (shrink)
This paper examines two paths by which F. A. Hayek’s work has influenced the cognitive theory of institutions: cognition and cultural evolution. It argues that there is a relationship between the sensory order and the social order. The explanation of social order begins with the human mind. This is illustrated with ideas relating to understanding culture from a cognitive viewpoint. Human cognition makes cultural evolution an endogenous process. The paper draws on ideas of co-evolution of individuals’ mental models and their (...) actions. Mental models can be modified by feedback from altered perceived reality as a consequence of peoples’ altered actions. A key to understanding cultural evolution is an understanding of how individuals modify their mental models. (shrink)