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J. S. Mill's essay on August Comte.

What about A.V.Dicey?

Current -- you're right about Dicey.

Pete -- don't know how I forgot about Olson. Rawls and Bertanlanfy I'll have to thing about ...

Michael, can you explain more how you see Mill's book on Comte has influenced Hayek?

Greg,

Have you read the archival work on Hayek's students translating Olson's work into German? I'd like to get a copy of those letters. I also wonder is there any evidence of Hayek having read Buchanan and Tullock?

Pete

Hayek on Mill:

The Comte essay is the most obvious influence, I think. The counter revolution of science takes this as the starting point. I find that Hayek tracks Mill very closely throughout his discussions. LLLv.1 echoes the sentiments of Mill on Bentham, Perhaps overly. Hayek never departs too much from Mill's vision. This is true when he agrees with Mill and even more so when he disagrees.

It seems consistent. If the purpose of the collection of influences is to isolate influences on CoL rather than the body of thought, I could see omitting this specific reference to Mill.

Caldwell's "Hayek on Mill" in HOPE is most likely clearer than anything I can say on the matter.

Michael, I'll have to re-read Caldwell' paper.

Last night I was at a birthday party. The guys whose birthday it was is a philosophy type. He had a copy of Gadamer's "Truth and Method" on his bookshelf. I read it a bit.

Oddly enough my friend had highlighted a set of passages about the enlightenment that are very similar to Hayek's view. Gadamer, like Hayek, complains that about scholars who are "prejudiced against prejudice". Gadamer's discussion is rather like Hayek's explanation of non-rationalist liberalism.

I wonder if Hayek read Gadamer, or vice versa.

Peter, what's the basic picture of Bertlanaffy's influence on
Hayek -- I know the association and Hayek's references to Bertlanaffy. I'm not sure what story I'd tell, ESP. In terms of Bertlanaffy's book. Somethin about giving Hayek a non-deductive model of scientific explanation and "modeling", would that be it?

No, the systems approach to the study of complex phenomena.

Current,

This, of course, was one Don Lavoie was all about. However, Hayek would have been aligned in the German language debate (the positivist dispute) on the other side. But that was not really connected to the philosophical ideas under dispute as other intellectual contexts of the dispute.

But I would suggest you read Don Lavoie and Gary Madison if you want to explore the Gadamer connection.

Pete

Right. But what is the content of that -- and what is new in Hayek due to that.

I've read Bertlanaffy's book and I never really got much that added much to what was in Hayek already.

So I'm look for the ooomph here, and some specifics.

Pete wrote:

"the systems approach to the study of complex phenomena."

With Bertlanaffy, what I was suggesting is that "systems" thinking takes you away from the classic deductive model of explanation current in Vienna, and takes you away from two variable Hume/Mill/Mach/Carnap models and into Hayekian multi-variable causal mechanisms. But you get the same in Darwinian biology, and Hayek already talked that way in brain theory and in econ theory, so the question is what Bertlanaffy added substantively to Hayek which would give content to the idea that there was a real substantive "influence" here that changed things.

Greg,

Regarding von Bertalanffy and Hayek, Pete is right. I would agree that von Bertalanffy has a lot of weaknesses and is not the greatest expositor around. However, quite aside from Hayek's own clear mentioning of him at the time that he was consciously increasing his focus on complexity and self-organization in a way somewhat different from his earlier approaches, he was citing von Bertalanffy quite specifically.

I would add here that I have particularly specific knowledge on this matter. I am the person who has gotten it into the public record (in my 1999 JEP paper on complexity) that Hayek visited and communicated somewhat after this time with the leading people at the then-leading centers of complexity research in Europe. These were the Prigogine group at the Free University of Brussels, where they did not know what to make of him and somewhat made fun of him, and also at the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Stuttgart, near to Freiburg, where he was welcomed by Hermann Haken, with whom he became friendly. I have the latter from Haken himself, and the former from one of Prigogine's top followers, whom I shall not name.

I apologize for the somewhat garbled second sentence in my previous posting. I would modify that by noting that Hayek cited very few other sources besides von Bertalanffy in this regard at that time when he was working through these ideas. So, even though I may not think all that much of von Bertalanffy, he was definitely an important influence, with Hayek following up on this with his approaches to Brussels and Stuttgart.

Here's the nub. I don't see much difference in Hayek's approach -- I see him using all sorts of references and language to illustrate an insight.

It looks to me like Hayek had the insight already.

And if there is difference of significance, the difficult part is in concretely specifying the old Hayek view and how it became something different in the "new Hayek" view -- and specifically what Bertalanffy added to Hayek that made the new view something different. The language evolved over time -- what in the substance was added?

I'm not saying it isn't there. I'm asking for help in specifying it.

I read Bertalanffy's book and didn't get much out of it. The question is: what did Hayek get out of it that he didn't have already? What I'm asking for is help here, and a language to express the contribution.

Has anyone published on this?

I can't just say "Bertlananffy book influenced Hayek" and not give some content to that.

Barkley wrote:

"at the time that he was consciously increasing his focus on complexity and self-organization in a way somewhat different from his earlier approaches,"

Hayek cited Prigogine in the 1970s -- he does it mostly to attack a false picture of science Hayek had been attacking since the late 1930s, and to support a picture of scientific explanation Hayek had been developing since the early 1930s.

The most significant place Bertalanffy would have influenced influenced Hayek would be his development of the stuff in _The Sensory Order_.

The books that Hayek cites in _SO_ are:

1. Theoretische Biologie.

2. Das biologische Weltbild.

I haven't read these.

He also cites two of Bertalanffy's general systems papers from 1950, a year when Hayek's book would likely have been in final draft form. You could stretch those and say they are essentially Bertalanffy's book, published later.

Greg,

You are probably right that the main direct influence of von Bertalanffy was on S.O.

Regarding his later critique of Prigogine, that might have been due to the not-so friendly reception he received in Brussels, in contrast with that he received in Stuttgart.

Barkley, Hayek has positive cites to Prigogine, I don't recall any "critique" ...

Of course, the central point Hayek only dimly understood is that the whole domain of non-linear dynamic phenomena puts dynamite to the Laplacian/Millian/Nagelian "received view" of explanation/causation/prediction built ultimately on a false understanding of physics (combined with a bit of logic and false picture knowledge dating to Euclid and Aristotle.)

Hayek was thinking in terms of multiple causal pathways as early as his work staining brain cells in 1920, when he was thinking about the ideas in his paper on Mach of 1920, which later became his _S.O._. These ideas grew over time, but Hayek had a background in biology and the "essentially complex phenomena" of that domain prior to his graduate work in economics.

Greg,

I misinterpreted what you said about Hayek writing about Prigogine.

Certainly Hayek had bits and pieces of these complexity ideas from his original work on the functioning of the brain from around 1920, which provided the original basis for S.O. However, he fleshed this out later after more thinking, and S.O. was not the endpoint of his writing on complex dynamics, as you well know.

Right. What's hard to chart here is the points where Hayek expanded / changed his picture of things.

Certainly all of the biology and psychology and "systems theory" and brain science he read between 1946 and 1951 had a very significant impact.

"Certainly Hayek had bits and pieces of these complexity ideas from his original work on the functioning of the brain from around 1920, which provided the original basis for S.O. However, he fleshed this out later after more thinking, and S.O. was not the endpoint of his writing on complex dynamics, as you well know."

Gadamer, like Hayek, complains that about scholars who are "prejudiced against prejudice

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