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Hayek's Social and Political Thought$
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Roland Kley

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198279167.001.0001

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Introduction: Friedrich A. Hayek's Instrumental Liberalism

Introduction: Friedrich A. Hayek's Instrumental Liberalism

(p.1) Introduction: Friedrich A. Hayek's Instrumental Liberalism
Hayek's Social and Political Thought

Roland Kley

Oxford University Press

This book examines the liberal political philosophy and social theory of Friedrich A. Hayek (1899–1991). According to Hayek, liberalism derives from the discovery of a self-generating or spontaneous order in social affairs, an order which makes it possible to utilise the knowledge and skill of all members of society to a much greater extent than would be possible in any order created by central direction. Hayek argues that there are basically only two rival political doctrines, liberalism and socialism. Hayek concedes that in one respect the ends of liberalism and socialism do diverge: only socialism, but not liberalism, aims at an ideal of distributive justice. Hayek's instrumental approach is unique in contemporary liberal political philosophy. Reading Hayek in an instrumentalist light brings into focus, above all, his social theory.

Keywords:   Friedrich A. Hayek, liberalism, socialism, political philosophy, social theory, spontaneous order

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