Searching for a methodological synthesis -Hayek's individualism in the light of recent holistic criticism

Journal of Economic Methodology 4 (2):267-287 (1997)
This paper compares different strategies of analysing economic phe-nomena, namely individualism and holism. As it turns out, a main point for which methodological individualism is criticized is its supposed reductionism and the related arbitrariness of choosing individuals as a unit of explanation. The paper shows that there exists at least with F. A. Hayek an author who presents an evolutionary theory of economic and social change that avoids the reductionism of orthodox individualistic theory. According to Hayek, the social scientist should try to receive insights about collective phenomena by analysing to what extent rules of behaviour are adopted by some individuals, larger groups or a whole population. Besides the selection argument, Hayek's observation of learning processes as primary factors determining behaviour gives rise to a conception of mankind far beyond optimization models. Hayek thus overcomes a reductionist individualism by taking recourse to hierarchical selection and learning processes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/13501789700000018
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,674
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Leslie Marsh (2010). Hayek: Cognitive Scientist Avant La Lettre. In William Butos, Roger Koppl & Steve Horwitz (eds.), Advances in Austrian Economics. Emerald
Friedrich A. von Hayek (1946). Individualism: True and False. Dublin, Hodges, Figgis & Co., Ltd.; [Etc., Etc.].
Elliott Sober (1980). Holism, Individualism, and the Units of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:93 - 121.
Jack Birner (2014). Popper and Hayek on Reason and Tradition. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (3):263-281.
E. Angner (2002). The History of Hayek's Theory of Cultural Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (4):695-718.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #267,069 of 1,903,042 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #144,817 of 1,903,042 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.