Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Was Hayek a Panglossian Evolutionary Theorist? A Reply to Whitman

  • Andy Denis


By means of a consideration of Whitman (1998) the present paper considers the meanings of ‘Panglossianism’ and the relation between group and individual levels in evolution. It establishes the connection between the Panglossian policy prescription of laissez-faire and the mistaken evolutionary theory of group selection. Analysis of the passages in Hayek cited by Whitman shows that, once these passages are taken in context, and once the appropriate meaning of the term ‘Panglossian’ has been clarified, they fail to defend Hayek from this charge, but, on the contrary, confirm that Hayek was, indeed, ‘a Panglossian evolutionary theorist’.


Evolutionary Theorist Group Selection Policy Prescription 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Denis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsCity UniversityLondonUK

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