Natural Science/Environment

Hayek and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge


According to Hayek, scientism is not only an intellectual mistake but also a moral and political problem, because it assumes that a perfected social science would be able to rationally plan social order. This colloquium investigated this Hayekian argument through reading Hayek and others who argue that social and political knowledge cannot be reduced to the sort of technical knowledge sought in the physical sciences.


Conference Readings

Hayek, Friedrich A. New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978.

Hayek, Friedrich A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 3: The Political Order of a Free People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Hayek, Friedrich A. The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume XIII: Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason - Text and Documents. Edited by Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Mayr, Ernst. What Makes Biology Unique? Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Oakeshott, Michael. Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991.

Strauss, Leo, “Epilogue.” in Essays on the Scientific Study of Politics, edited by Herbert J. Storing, 307-327. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1962.

Zak, Paul. Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.