Purpose – First, to look closely and critically at Hayek's treatment of science in The Sensory Order. This provides hints as to the difficulties in maintaining a theory of scientific knowledge as a selective sum of the identifiable contributions of individual scientists. Second, to generalize from Hayek's theory of how the brain generates an individual's knowledge to a theory of how science generates scientific knowledge, knowledge that is not a simple sum of individual contributions. Third, to apply this picture of science to understanding developments in postpositivist philosophy and post-Mertonian sociology of science.
Approach – We provide a short survey of the conventional understanding of science and scientific knowledge, including that of Hayek in The Sensory Order. We examine in more depth the ways in which developments in postpositivist philosophy and sociology have transformed our understanding of science. We describe how, by analogy with Hayek's theory of the brain, science can be seen as an adaptive system that adjusts to its environment by classifying the phenomena in that environment to which it is sensitive, and we apply this systemic picture of science with a view to integrating much of the more moderate content of recent philosophy and sociology of science.
The received Austrian theory of entrepreneurship is considered in light of the generation of knowledge. It is suggested that learning involving more than the discovery of profit opportunities provides a way to endogenize knowledge and to expand the scope of entrepreneurial activity. The theoretical and applied aspects for entrepreneurial studies of this approach are discussed.
Purpose – To show that The Sensory Order is useful for understanding Hayek's position on the informational role of prices.Methodology/approach – Hayek's psychological…
Purpose – To show that The Sensory Order is useful for understanding Hayek's position on the informational role of prices.
Methodology/approach – Hayek's psychological theory argues that every sensation is interpreted in the light of past experience. This idea is applied to Hayek's view on the price system by arguing that, similarly, every price is interpreted in the light of local knowledge. The usefulness of this approach is tested by addressing some common mainstream interpretations.
Findings – Prices perform their informational role in interaction with local knowledge. The standard view, in which prices convey the same information to everyone, ignores the fundamental importance of local knowledge and varying interpretations.
Research limitations/implications – The paper only discusses some of the central insights given in Hayek's theory of the mind. Furthermore, implications for connected issues, such as entrepreneurship and market process theories in general, are left for subsequent research.
Originality/value of paper – While the connections between Hayek's thought in different fields and the importance of interpretation has been suggested by others, this paper contributes to the Austrian price theory and suggests the relevance of The Sensory Order to economists by making this connection more pronounced.
Purpose – Recent findings in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, and brain evolution are interpreted in light of Hayek's construction of the sensory order as a…
Purpose – Recent findings in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, and brain evolution are interpreted in light of Hayek's construction of the sensory order as a spontaneously emergent evolutionary adaptation. The sensory order is an experimental view of reality ordered by experience.
Approach – Natural selection of behavioral and cognitive adaptations is shown to result in structural change within the brain. Individual brains grow, and species brains evolve, through the construction and evaluation of hypothetical classification schemata. This process both results in the construction of the sensory order, as well as results from the particular models of objective reality that individuals have constructed, their evaluation of these models, and the comparison of our own models with those of others.
Findings – Cognitive adaptations, such as belief in agency, causal reasoning, and theory of mind, are inherited because they enhance survival and reproductive opportunities. In addition, behavioral adaptations including empathy, reciprocity, social hierarchy, and peacemaking are also inherited. Socialization in larger groups required the evolution of enhanced brain connectivity permitting a greater degree and sophistication of social intercourse.
Research Implications – Recent findings in neurobiology can be better related to one another in terms of how they contribute to the sensory order. Literary Darwinism, a school of literary theory, can also be understood more fully.
Originality/Value of Paper – Varied developments in modern neurobiology and cognitive psychology are shown to lead to spontaneously emergent institutional structures, such as behavioral regularities and rules of morality, which further enhance the survival benefits of inherited brain structure and the sensory order.
Purpose – The goal of this chapter is to contribute toward an understanding of Hayek's book “The Sensory Order.” It focuses on his concept of dispositions which influence…
Purpose – The goal of this chapter is to contribute toward an understanding of Hayek's book “The Sensory Order.” It focuses on his concept of dispositions which influence perception as well as action. The dichotomy between the phenomenal and the scientific world which Hayek stresses throughout his works is based on the existence of such dispositions.
Approach – Hayek's cognitive writings such as The Sensory Order, “Rules, Perception and Intelligibility” (1963), “The Theory of Complex Phenomena” (1964), and “The Primacy of the Abstract” (1969) are the main resources to explain his cognitive theory.
Findings – Hayek's concept of dispositions facilitates re-interpretation of the term “dispersed knowledge.” Also, Hayek's Theory of Cultural evolution is seen as an evolution of dispositions, which stands in line with his view on the concurrent development of mind and culture.
Import of findings – The chapter offers a cognitive interpretation of Hayek's theory of government, depicting governmental action and rule-setting as spontaneous as well as deliberate processes.
Entrepreneurship, Money, and Coordination begins with a single page introduction by the editor, Jurgen Backhaus, a well known economist now at the University of Erfurt, in…
Entrepreneurship, Money, and Coordination begins with a single page introduction by the editor, Jurgen Backhaus, a well known economist now at the University of Erfurt, in which we learn that the contribution by Horst Feldmann (Hayek's theory of cultural evolution: A critique of the critiques) provided the impetus for the book's remaining six chapters, a mélange of papers by Brian J. Loasby,1 Jurgen G. Backhaus, Christian Schubert, Alexander Ebner, Martin T. Bohl and Jens Holscher, and Walter W. Heering. Unfortunately, the papers assembled here do not cohere well and in some instances are not altogether “reader-friendly.” The papers by Bohl and Holscher (a six-page overview and econometric analysis of Hayek's theory of competing currencies) and Heering (on monetary theory) seem rather disconnected from the main theme of the book. Surprisingly, Backhaus’ “Introduction” does not provide a useful integrating overview of the book's subject matter and papers, something readers surely would have appreciated from so eminent a scholar.
Purpose – To present the argument that the paradigm of spontaneously self-ordering open adaptation is common to Hayek's thesis on the mind (The Sensory Order) and to his…
Purpose – To present the argument that the paradigm of spontaneously self-ordering open adaptation is common to Hayek's thesis on the mind (The Sensory Order) and to his presentations of social science (the social order).
Methodology/approach – To show how Hayek's methodological stance for social science interrelates with his theoretical work in neuroscience and psychology, where the ‘connectionist’ paradigm is relevant to extensive writings upon the human condition.
Findings – •close parallels across biological, psychological and social adaptations give a basis for determining which methods are appropriate to gain knowledge about knowledge;•broad confirmation is evident that methods of proven worth to physical science have little relevance for the analysis of psychological and social phenomena, which are more complex than the phenomena of the material world.
Research limitations/implications – •that the social order rests upon common beliefs;•that no simple distinction separates subjective and objective knowledge;•that any drive for social science to match the precision of physical science is misguided;•that in seeking an objective focus, behaviourism eliminates crucial introspective insights upon motivation and goals.
Originality/value of paper – The presentation is one of exegesis showing the relevance of Hayek's seminal work in theoretical psychology to the broadest themes of human understanding and social adaptation.