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Emergent properties in the work of Friedrich Hayek

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  • Lewis, Paul
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    Abstract

    The term ‘emergence’ features only infrequently on the work of Friedrich Hayek, and then almost always merely as a synonym for ‘spontaneous order’. The argument of this paper is that Hayek's accounts both of the working of the human mind, and also of the spontaneous order of the market, rely heavily – if almost always implicitly – on the philosophical notion of emergence, that is on the idea that when certain elements or parts stand in particular relations to one another, the whole that is formed has properties that are not possessed by those elements or parts taken in isolation. The implications of Hayek's implicit commitment to the notion of emergence for the possibility of downward causation in social life are considered. The differences between ‘emergence’ and ‘spontaneous order’ are also highlighted.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268111001144
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 82 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 368-378

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:2:p:368-378

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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    Keywords: Hayek; Emergence; Emergent properties; Downward causation; Social ontology; Spontaneous order; Social order; Mind;

    References

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    1. Vaughn, Karen I, 1999. " Hayek's Implicit Economics: Rules and the Problem of Order," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1-2), pages 129-44.
    2. Douglas Whitman, 1998. "Hayek contra Pangloss on Evolutionary Systems," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 45-66, March.
    3. Caldwell, Bruce, 2000. " The Emergence of Hayek's Ideas on Cultural Evolution," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 5-22, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hoffmann, Andreas & Urbansky, Björn, 2012. "Order, displacements and recurring financial crises," Working Papers 108, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.

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