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Book cover: Advances in Austrian Economics

Advances in Austrian Economics

ISSN: 1529-2134
Series editor(s): Roger Koppl; Virgil Storr

Subject Area: Economics

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Beyond Complexity: Can the Sensory Order

Document Information:
Title:Beyond Complexity: Can the Sensory Order
Author(s):Chor-yung Cheung
Volume:15 Editor(s): Leslie Marsh ISBN: 978-1-78052-398-9 eISBN: 978-1-78052-399-6
Citation:Chor-yung Cheung (2011), Beyond Complexity: Can the Sensory Order, in Leslie Marsh (ed.) Hayek in Mind: Hayek's Philosophical Psychology (Advances in Austrian Economics, Volume 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.219-239
DOI:10.1108/S1529-2134(2011)0000015016 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item

Purpose – This chapter aims to critically examine how Hayek's philosophical psychology helps defend his liberalism.

Methodology/approach – It is commonly argued that The Sensory Order enables Hayek to strengthen the epistemological theses of his social philosophy against constructivist rationalism by demonstrating why the mind as a complex order can never fully explain itself and why only “explanation of the principle” is possible for complex phenomena. Building on this argument, the chapter attempts to show that we can reconstruct a liberal conception of man who is distinct, creative yet culturally embedded from Hayek's philosophical psychology.

Findings – This chapter contends that a better understanding of Hayek's liberal self not only can enrich our analysis of the strengths and problems of Hayekian liberalism but also help counter some of the major criticisms against The Sensory Order.

Research limitations/implications – The findings of this chapter suggest that while Hayek's epistemological defense of liberalism is both powerful and thought-provoking, there is a danger that he tends to treat individual liberty as an instrumental value without adequately taking into account the intrinsic value of individuality. This chapter tries to offer some preliminary analysis of this problem and points to the direction that thinkers sympathetic to Hayek's liberalism can further develop his defense by making good this inadequacy in future research.

Originality/Value of the chapter – This chapter attempts to reconstruct a liberal self from Hayek's philosophical psychology and subject such a conception to critical scrutiny in the light of Hayek's defense of liberalism. This is an area that is relatively neglected and needs to be better explored by Hayek scholars.

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