Friday, 16 October 2009

Levels of abstraction

In “The Sensory Order” and in “The Primacy of the Abstract”, Hayek suggests that the mind is made of the juxtaposition of several kinds of abstraction levels and systems of classification. Mind is part of the nature and the different levels of abstraction that compound it change in response to the changes in the environment. The rational agent is unaware of the highest levels of abstraction that condition his mind. These highest levels of abstraction are formed by social institutions, aesthetic values, “moral sentiments”, etc, and evolve following a natural selection pattern. That the rational agent is not able to choose or modify such levels of abstraction is at the core of the notion of “spontaneous order”.

1 comment:

Eliana said...

Very interesting! That´s why some people think now that Hayek has abandoned Methodological Individualism (MI)at this point. I don´t think so...but it is true that a reconsideration of pure and strict MI -as the one he showed in "The Counter Revolution of Science"- was needed to propound these ideas... Cheers! Eli