Hayek and Modern Liberalism

Chandran Kukathas

in Hayek and Modern Liberalism

Published in print October 1989 | ISBN: 9780198273264
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684029 | DOI:
Hayek and Modern Liberalism

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This chapter examines why Hayek's defence of a liberal political philosophy did not succeed. Hayek failed to provide a coherent and plausible defence of the liberal social order because his thought is governed by two incompatible attitudes. The first embraces a brand of anti-rationalism and the suggestion that there is a connection between an appreciation of the nature of mind and society as the unintended products of evolution as spontaneous orders, and the liberal ideal of an ‘Open Society’, which is precisely the connection Hayek did not establish. This chapter also discusses Hayek's contribution to modern liberalism. Hayek's political thought is worthy of attention not because he has generated novel solutions to the traditional problems of political philosophy, but because he offered a distinctive conception of the liberal social order, one which presents an important challenge to liberalism's critics, and to many of its self-proclaimed defenders.

Keywords: Hayek; liberal political philosophy; social order; anti-rationalism; mind; society; Open Society; modern liberalism; political philosophy

Chapter.  9830 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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