Series editor(s): Roger Koppl; Steven Horwitz
Subject Area: Economics
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|Title:||HAYEK’S THEORY OF THE MIND|
|Author(s):||Brian J. Loasby|
|Volume:||7 Editor(s): Roger Koppl ISBN: 978-0-76231-041-8 eISBN: 978-1-84950-294-8|
|Citation:||Brian J. Loasby (2005), HAYEK’S THEORY OF THE MIND, in Roger Koppl (ed.) Evolutionary Psychology and Economic Theory (Advances in Austrian Economics, Volume 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.101-134|
|DOI:||10.1016/S1529-2134(04)07006-1 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Article type:||Chapter Item|
“It is now becoming widely recognised that many of the central unresolved problems in economics turn on questions of knowledge” (Loasby, 1986, p. 41). Nearly twenty years after that was written, it may be appropriate to take a (necessarily selective) look at ideas about human knowledge and to suggest some implications for the practice of economists. The ideas with which we shall begin long predate the observation that I have just recalled; and the delay in recognising their implications indicates how the growth of knowledge is dependent on the formation of appropriate linkages – which of course are not recognised as appropriate until they have been formed. Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall and Friedrich Hayek were all confronted with the uncertain basis of knowledge before they began their study of economics; and what their responses have in common is not only a theoretical focus on the process by which people develop what we call “knowledge” but also a reliance on similar kinds of process, which result in the formation of connections within particular domains. Each author recognises the impossibility of demonstrating that any such process can deliver proven truth; instead each envisages sequences of trial and error within particular contexts, leading to the preservation of what seems to work – until it no longer does, when a new sequence of trial and error begins. In other words, they all offer evolutionary theories, Marshall and Hayek explicitly so, while Smith, directly and indirectly, had a major influence on the development of Darwin’s ideas.
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