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Methodological individualism and society: Hayek’s evolving view

Denis, A. (2014). Methodological individualism and society: Hayek’s evolving view. In: Nell, G. (Ed.), Austrian Economic Perspectives on Individualism and Society. . New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137371409


A review of Hayek’s discussion of the methods of social science contained in the Counter-Revolution of Science finds much to commend. However, the statements specifically on the individualist nature of the methodology that he prescribes for social science are found to be inconsistent and to depend on a fanciful epistemological division between nature and society. A particularly commendable feature of the earlier writings identified in the paper is the deployment of what is now known as the intentional stance. It is argued that in later writings, on the evolution of social institutions, Hayek continues to apply the intentional stance and, by extending it to macro-level entities, succeeds in breaking with the erroneous views of his earlier writings. He thereby makes his overall vision of the nature of science more consistent.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Denis, A, Austrian Economic Perspectives on Individualism and Society, 2014, Palgrave Macmillan reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: Book in press.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Economics
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