Caldwell on Hayek and Spontaneous Order

A good deal of the academic literature on Hayek is horrible because the professors writing on Hayek are narrow specialists with limited cross disciplinary knowledge — and because these scholars attempt to explain and analyse Hayek based on a fatally incomplete reading of Hayeks complex cross disciplinary project.

And repeatedly I see academics burdening Hayek with the template of their own ideology-first approach to social phenomena. They simply dont get Hayek, who privileges explanation and understanding before moral and political passions.

A writer on Hayek who does possess a multi-disciplinary background as well as a firm knowledge of Hayeks complex work is Bruce Caldwell. Much of the worse stuff written on Hayek involves the interplay of the topics of spontanous order, organizations, morality, governance and law. Caldwell clears up a bit of the confusion here.

UPDATE:  A related post from Tyler Cowen.

3 comments to Caldwell on Hayek and Spontaneous Order

  • Roger McKinney

    Yes, that Caldwell post is good. Caplan and Cowen think they are so clever with their criticisms of Hayek, but I’m just a beginner at reading Hayek and can see that their criticisms prove nothing but that they don’t understand him. If anything can lower the my estimation of a “scholar” it’s to have him criticize Hayek without understanding Hayek.

  • You might find my comments at my blog on the cato unbound discussion of spontaneous orders interesting.

  • I reviewed your essay on my blog.

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The basis assumption underlying the belief that man has achieved mastery of his surroundings mainly through his capacity for logical deduction from explicit premises is factually false. — F. A. Hayek

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