Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Hayek’s analysis of morality as an evolved spontaneous order while updating and revising it, taking account of current research and models. While his path-breaking work requires revision, Hayek presents an analysis of a complex adaptive moral order that is far more in tune with current science than are the highly rationalistic analyses of contemporary political philosophy, which often seek to present utopian plans for the perfect justice. Yet, I argue, we need to rethink important claims. Hayek puts great weight on group-level selection to maintain the functionality of the complex adaptive system of social morality, a claim that has been buttressed by the recent work of David Sloan Wilson. I question this, showing how an “invisible hand” can maintain functional cooperation among current humans without strong group-level selection.

Keywords: complex adaptive system, Friedrich von Hayek, invisible hand, social morality, moral evolution, moral rules

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.