The moral dimension of Hayek's political theory.
This thesis provides an 'immanent' critique of the moral dimension of Hayek's
The concept of morality that Hayek advances is epistemologically founded.
That concept is concerned with the recognition and respect of the natural limits of
human knowledge and is incompatible with the idea of objective value judgement.
The moral dimension of Hayek's theory is based on the methodological
implications of his epistemologically founded concept of morality. That dimension
consists of the ideas of social spontaneity and cultural evolution and is incompatible
with any concept of objective liberal values. The moral dimension of Hayek's theory
excludes but also requires substantive politics.
The moral exclusion of substantive politics' undermines freedom and equality
in catallaxy while, at the same time, it relativises commutative justice and legitimates
the minimal state only from the point of view of its legality. Substantive politics is
morally required for preserving and promoting institutions such as catallaxy and
commutative justice in terms of liberalism.
It is argued that the moral exclusion of substantive politics is due to the
epistemological premises of Hayek's theory. Those premises form the praxeological
presuppositions of social spontaneity and cultural evolution. In terms of them,
substantive politics cannot be morally explained. Substantive politics is grounded on
a normative/evaluative conception of a social good. That conception depends on
critical reason in terms of which objective liberal values can be "recognised and
respected. The moral requirement of substantive politics is due to the fact that the
process of social spontaneity and cultural evolution cannot by itself be safeguarded
against coercion, inequality and injustice.