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Emergent properties in the work of Friedrich Hayek

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  • Lewis, Paul

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lewis, Paul, 2012. "Emergent properties in the work of Friedrich Hayek," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 368-378.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:2:p:368-378
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.04.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 11(1-2), pages 129-144.
    2. Caldwell, Bruce, 2000. "The Emergence of Hayek's Ideas on Cultural Evolution," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 13(1), pages 5-22, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Lewis, 2014. "Hayek: from economics as equilibrium analysis to economics as social theory," Chapters,in: Elgar Companion to Hayekian Economics, chapter 9, pages 195-223 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Agnès Festré & Pierre Garrouste, 2016. "Hayek on Expectations: The Interplay between two Complex Systems," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-13, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    3. Paul Lewis & Richard E. Wagner, 2017. "New Austrian macro theory: A call for inquiry," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18, March.
    4. Hoffmann, Andreas & Urbansky, Björn, 2012. "Order, displacements and recurring financial crises," Working Papers 108, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    5. Peter Lewin, 2014. "Hayek and Lachmann," Chapters,in: Elgar Companion to Hayekian Economics, chapter 8, pages 165-194 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Vipin P. Veetil & Lawrence H. White, 2017. "Towards a New Austrian Macroeconomics," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 19-38, March.

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