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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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Hayek's Project: The Instrumental Justification of the Liberal Market Society

Hayek's Project: The Instrumental Justification of the Liberal Market Society

(p.184) 8 Hayek's Project: The Instrumental Justification of the Liberal Market Society
Hayek's Social and Political Thought

Roland Kley

Oxford University Press

Friedrich A. Hayek thinks liberalism is the right political doctrine because, unlike socialism and other collectivist creeds, it is committed to institutions that take account of the social world as it is. He even deems the liberal market society the only feasible alternative because it alone admits of those self-coordinating mechanisms, such as the market, on which modern society vitally depends. Similarly, he portrays the institutions of the liberal market society as the work of a singular evolutionary development in the course of which they have proved their value and wisdom. So it is concerns of viability that are decisive when, in his political philosophy, Hayek endeavours to justify the institutions of the liberal market society. This chapter examines Hayek's instrumental justification of the liberal market society, as well as his traditionalist and proceduralist arguments. The chapter concludes by analysing how the various liberal (and conservative) arguments of a moral philosophical nature, which Hayek also seems to advance, relate to his instrumental perspective.

Keywords:   Friedrich A. Hayek, liberal market society, traditionalist argument, proceduralist argument, liberalism, instrumental justification, theory of cultural evolution, moral rules, traditional institutions

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