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Hayek and Modern Liberalism$
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Chandran Kukathas

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780198273264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198273264.001.0001

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Constructivism and Justice

Constructivism and Justice

(p.46) 2 Constructivism and Justice
Hayek and Modern Liberalism

Chandran Kukathas

Oxford University Press

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

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