Hayek on the Sciences

My dissertation adviser used to say, “there are the hard sciences, and the really hard sciences.” Here’s Hayek on the subject.

I believe that economics and the sciences of complex phenomena in general, which include biology, psychology, and so on, cannot be modeled after the sciences that deal with essentially simple phenomena like physics.


About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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One Response to Hayek on the Sciences

  1. Here’s a good one from Hayek related to that: “An experiment can tell us only whether any innovation does or does not fit into a given framework. But to hope that we can build a coherent order by random experimentation with particular solutions of individual problems and without following guiding principles is an illusion. Experience tells us much about the effectiveness of different social and economic systems as a whole. But an order of the complexity of modern society can be designed neither as a whole, nor by shaping each part separately without regard to the rest, but only by consistently adhering to certain principles throughout a process of evolution.”

    Even chemistry and physics rely on extrapolations from ideal cases that seldom exist in nature. Forces? Non-existent mathematical object! Ideal gas law? A convenience! Since Hayek wrote this, biology has become a more quantitative science, but even something like genomics is still soft.

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