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date: 23 July 2019

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

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