The epistemological argument against socialism: A Wittgensteinian critique of Hayek and Giddens

Nigel Pleasants
University of Exeter
Hayek's and Mises's argument for the impossibility of socialist planning is once again popular. Their case against socialism is predicated on an account of the nature of knowledge and social interaction. Hayek refined Mises's original argument by developing a philosophical anthropology which depicts individuals as tacitly knowledgeable rule-followers embedded in a 'spontaneous order' of systems of rules. Giddens, whose social theory is informed by his reading of Wittgenstein, has recently added his sociological support to Hayek's 'epistemological argument' against socialism. With the aid of an interpretation of Wittgenstein which emphasizes his philosophy of praxis , I attempt to 'deconstruct' Giddens's and Hayek's 'picture' of tacit knowledge and rule-following on which their argument against socialism is predicated.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201749708602436
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 41,608
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

Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair MacIntyre - 1988 - University of Notre Dame Press.

View all 37 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What Does Tacit Knowledge Actually Explain?Jonathan Perraton & Iona Tarrant - 2007 - Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (3):353-370.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
85 ( #91,134 of 2,249,273 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #310,770 of 2,249,273 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature