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From The Sensory Order to the Liberal Order: Hayek's Non-rationalist Liberalism

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Abstract

Hayek's arguments for a constitutionally constrainted government are consistent with, and to some extent rest upon, his work in theoretical psychology. By exploring his view of the mind in The Sensory Order, we can see the psychological and epistemological underpinnings of Hayek's belief in the mind's limits and the indispensibility of spontaneously emergent social institutions. The Austrian view of microeconomic coordination is a logical outgrowth of Hayek's theory of mind. Constraints on government are necessary not because self-interest leads rational government actors into temptation, but because even altruistically-motivated actors are epistemically unable to intervene effectively in spontaneously emergent institutions.

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Horwitz, S. From The Sensory Order to the Liberal Order: Hayek's Non-rationalist Liberalism. The Review of Austrian Economics 13, 23–40 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007850028840

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