Constructivism and Justice

Chandran Kukathas

in Hayek and Modern Liberalism

Published in print October 1989 | ISBN: 9780198273264
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684029 | DOI:
Constructivism and Justice

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This chapter examines Hayek's claims about the nature and significance of the limits of human reason. It outlines Hayek's account of the nature of mind and knowledge and his critique of ‘constructivism’. It also examines the relationship between his attack on constructivism and his theory of justice by comparing his thought with that of Rawls. Hayek's theory of knowledge emphasizes that the limitations of human rationality make it impossible to construct rules of justice from some transcendental or Archimedean perspective. The nature of knowledge counsels against attempts to derive any rationalist defence of a particular conception of just distribution and also suggests that practical efforts to enforce distributive patterns cannot succeed. This view leads Hayek to reject the kind of individualist defence of liberal justice offered by Rawls.

Keywords: Hayek; human reason; mind; knowledge; constructivism; Rawls; justice

Chapter.  15672 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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