Purpose – To show that The Sensory Order is an original effort to support, on a neurophysiologic basis, methodological individualism.
Methodology/approach – Considering that the mind is a complex and self-organized order, Hayek criticizes methodological holism according to which the cause of action has to be sought outside the individual, in macro-laws governing social wholes. He argues that, due to the nature of the mind, the cause of action has to be sought inside the individual.
Findings – The paper stresses that scholars have more or less neglected a very important point in discussions of the Austrian author's psychology. Hayek's psychology supports the idea that the explanation of the action stems from the understanding of its meaning.
Research limitations/implications – The article only discusses some of the epistemological consequences of Hayek's theory of the mind. For instance, it does not analyze in a detailed way the relationship between this theory and the idea of distributed knowledge. It left an in-depth examination of this issue for subsequent research.
Originality/value of paper – Many authors state that Hayek's version of methodological individualism only examines the non-intentional effects of action, neglecting the importance of Verstehen. They argue that the Austrian scholar is not a complete and coherent champion of methodological individualism. The paper shows that this criticism is unfounded.
Di Iorio, F. (2010), " and the neurophysiological basics of methodological individualismThe Sensory Order", Butos, W.N. (Ed.) The Social Science of Hayek's ‘The Sensory Order’ (Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 179-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-2134(2010)0000013010
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