Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Unity and Coherence of Hayek\'s Writings: Conception of Mind & Unity of Knowledge - Literature of Liberty, Winter 1982, vol. 5, No. 4
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The Unity and Coherence of Hayek's Writings: Conception of Mind & Unity of Knowledge - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Winter 1982, vol. 5, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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The Unity and Coherence of Hayek's Writings: Conception of Mind & Unity of Knowledge
In all of this revival of scholarly interest, however, Hayek's work has rarely been viewed as a whole. In fact, it has often been suggested that what we find in his writings is a series of unconnected episodes, in which questions are addressed in a variety of disciplines on a number of disparate historical occasions, rather then a coherent research program implemented over the years. Even Hayek's friends have sometimes discerned important tensions and conflicts in his writings, leading them to argue that his work encompasses methodological and political positions which are in the last resort incompatible. Against this view, to which I once subscribed myself, I want now to submit that Hayek's work does indeed disclose a coherent system of ideas. Hayek's system of ideas may not perhaps be wholly stable, but in this system positions covering a range of academic disciplines are in fact informed and unified by a small number of fundamental philosophical conceptions. Identifying these basic philosophical positions, and showing how they infuse his entire work, is the chief aim of this review of Hayek's work. It will not be my argument that Hayek's system lacks difficulties or internal tensions. I will try, however, to show that his work is given a cohesive and unitary character by the claims in theory of knowledge and in theoretical psychology which inform and govern his contributions to many specific debates.
My strategy in this survey of Hayek's work is to seek the unifying wellspring of his thought in his conception of the mind and in his account of the nature and limits of human knowledge. My argument will be that Hayek's general philosophy—a highly distinctive development of post-Kantian critical philosophy—informs and shapes his contributions to a variety of academic disciplines (jurisprudence and social philosophy as much as economic theory and the history of ideas), and Hayek's philosophy does so in ways that have been persistently neglected or misunderstood. In particular, Hayek's account of the structure of the mind, of the nature and limits of human knowledge, and of the use and abuse of reason in human life pervades his writings down to their last details, and gives to his work over the years and across many disciplinary boundaries the character of a coherent system. We can see the structure of Hayek's system of ideas and we can realize its capacity to yield an integrated view of man and society only when we have adequately specified its philosophical foundations. It is only once we have grasped these philosophical foundations of his thought, again, that we may fully appreciate his originality as a thinker and the measure of his achievement as a social theorist.