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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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Conclusion: The Prospects for Comprehensive Instrumental Justification

Conclusion: The Prospects for Comprehensive Instrumental Justification

(p.221) Conclusion: The Prospects for Comprehensive Instrumental Justification
Hayek's Social and Political Thought

Roland Kley

Oxford University Press

This book argues that Friedrich A. Hayek fails in his instrumental approach to the justification of the institutions of liberal market society, and in his defence of its system of rules on grounds of their conduciveness to human survival, general prosperity, and social peace. That instrumental considerations form an indispensable part of the defence of liberalism and liberty is not to be disputed. The question is whether an instrumental approach alone could ever suffice to establish the legitimacy of a liberal market regime. An instrumental justification as it is pursued by Hayek rests on at least four crucial assumptions. Firstly, it presupposes that the social and political ends are given and, secondly, that they are uncontested. Thirdly, it postulates that the means—the various institutional systems available—are morally neutral and, fourthly, that they represent a class of distinct and specific options. Each of these assumptions is problematic in its own way.

Keywords:   Friedrich A. Hayek, liberal market society, liberalism, instrumental justification, rules, political philosophy, institutional systems, spontaneous order, social theory

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