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Making Sense out of The Sensory Order

The Social Science of Hayek's ‘The Sensory Order’

ISBN: 978-1-84950-974-9, eISBN: 978-1-84950-975-6

ISSN: 1529-2134

Publication date: 22 February 2010


Purpose – To comment on how The Sensory Order by F. A. Hayek is understood within the context of Hayek's broader research program.

Methodology/approach – Earlier and current perspectives on The Sensory Order are surveyed, quoted extensively, and commented upon. An alternative framework for understanding The Sensory Order is offered and compared to the existing perspectives. Some textual and archival evidence are combined with insights from the history of thought literature to present how Hayek himself may have viewed the role of The Sensory Order in his broader research project.

Findings – Earlier and current perspectives on The Sensory Order are found wanting. The available alternative hypothesis – that Hayek's economics is foundational to his theory of mind – is presented as a more fruitful approach to motivate modern Austrian economics as a progressive research program.

Research limitations/implications – There is limited archival and source material available on this topic and apparently competing versions circulating. Such a discussion has a relatively small and narrow field of interest among scholars intimately familiar with one another's work.

Originality/value of paper – If correct, this chapter offers a unique and original perspective on how to perceive the insights from Hayek's The Sensory Order. It also reaffirms the role of methodological pluralism in progressing contemporary political economy.


D'Amico, D.J. and Boettke, P.J. (2010), "Making Sense out of The 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. 357-381.



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