Popperian Hayek or Hayekian Popper?

João Pinheiro da Silva


Friedrich Hayek was a fervent advocate of the methodological specificity of the social sciences. However, given his contact with Karl Popper, several historians and philosophers have characterised his final position as Popperian, that is, a position that would have accepted the unity of the scientific method. A closer look at Hayek’s philosophy and Popper’s own intellectual course shows that such a thesis is based on some misconceptions that can be overcome by taking the Hayekian concept of ‘spontaneous order’ as the foundation of a methodology immune to any kind of methodological monism, and focusing on Popper’s late works that reveal a loosening of his defense of methodological unity.

Published on 21st July, 2021, in Economic Thought Vol 10, No 1, 2021