Hayek’s Political Philosophy and Its Philosophical Sources

Title: Hayek’s Political Philosophy and Its Philosophical Sources
Authors: Filip, Birsen
Date: 2013
Abstract: This thesis aims to broaden the discussion about the origins of some of the fundamental theoretical sources for Hayek’s ideas regarding freedom and the state. It focuses on the debates between the Austrian School of Economics and the German Historical School of Economics, as well as the works of Popper, Mill, Humboldt and Hegel in order to identify their positive and negative influences on Hayek’s views of freedom and the state. The originality of the thesis relates to the examination of Humboldt’s political philosophy in terms of its influence over the formation of the components of Hayek’s account of freedom, such as spontaneous order, the rule of law, the role of the state, and the nature of human knowledge. These components have assisted in Hayek’s efforts to prove the superiority of open societies over totalitarian regimes. The thesis explains that Hayek’s intellectual collaboration with Popper played a significant role in identifying many enemies of open societies. Both theorists agreed that historicism was a method commonly used and promoted by the enemies of open society; specifically, they accused Hegel of promoting historicism and, as a result, of being an enemy of open societies. However, this thesis disputes these accusations and argues that Popper and Hayek did not possess adequate knowledge of Hegel’s theoretical work to make such claims. In actuality, Hegel was not an enemy of open societies, he recognized the potential devastating outcomes associated with them and sought solutions. The thesis also explores the idea that Mill was also worried about the detrimental features of industrial capitalism and, as a result, attributed a prominent role to “state activity” in securing the conditions of positive freedom. Hayek, meanwhile, viewed such forms of state interference as obstacles to attaining freedom. This thesis examines the topic whether or not Hayek actually sought to formulate a genuine form of freedom or if he merely valued freedom as a tool for the promotion of open societies over centrally planned economies.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24390
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -