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Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason


  • Caldwell, Bruce


  • Hayek, F. A.


Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason is a series of fascinating essays on the study of social phenomena. How to best and most accurately study social interactions has long been debated intensely, and there are two main approaches: the positivists, who ignore intent and belief and draw on methods based in the sciences; and the nonpositivists, who argue that opinions and ideas drive action and are central to understanding social behavior. F. A. Hayek’s opposition to the positivists and their claims to scientific rigor and certainty in the study of human behavior is a running theme of this important book. Hayek argues that the vast number of elements whose interactions create social structures and institutions make it unlikely that social science can predict precise outcomes. Instead, he contends, we should strive to simply understand the principles by which phenomena are produced. For Hayek this modesty of aspirations went hand in hand with his concern over widespread enthusiasm for economic planning. As a result, these essays are relevant to ongoing debates within the social sciences and to discussion about the role government can and should play in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hayek, F. A., 2010. "Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226321127 edited by Caldwell, Bruce, Febrero.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:bkecon:9780226321127

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce Caldwell, 2020. "The Road to Serfdom after 75 Years," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(3), pages 720-748, September.
    2. Vanberg, Viktor J., 2016. "Social contract vs. invisible hand: Agreeing to solve social dilemmas," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 16/04, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    3. Elizabeth Hemsley, 2020. "Consent, democracy and the future of liberalism," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 253-270, March.
    4. Paul Lewis, 2017. "The Ostroms and Hayek as Theorists of Complex Adaptive Systems: Commonality and Complementarity," Advances in Austrian Economics, in: Paul Dragos Aligica & Paul Lewis & Virgil H. Storr (ed.), The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy, volume 22, pages 49-80, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    5. Diogo de Melo Lourenço, 2015. "Hayek’s Scientism Essay and the social aspects of objectivity and the mind," FEP Working Papers 560, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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