Review of Bruce Caldwell (2004) 'Hayek’s Challenge: an Intellectual Biography of F. A. Hayek'
Bruce Caldwell (2004) “Hayek’s Challenge” tells the story of the evolution of Hayek’s methodological standpoint. In Caldwell’s account, Hayek is driven by the desire to identify a truly scientific approach to the study of society as a complex adaptive order which at the same time will provide an intellectual basis for the defence of markets and the price system. Starting with ‘Austrian presuppositions’ Hayek’s methodological Odyssey takes him to ‘a place that was unique’. The review commends the knowledge of Hayek and enthusiasm for his subject displayed by the author. The author’s final assessment of Hayek’s contribution, however, damns Hayek with the faintness of its praise. The review criticises Caldwell’s attempt to defend Hayek on the issues of Panglossianism and group selection. Finally, it asks whether Hayek ever did reach his destination, or whether his twin goals remained unreconciled at the end as at the beginning of his pilgrimage.
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