In the history of modern liberal political thought the work of F. A. Hayek stands out as one of the most significant contributions to liberal theory since J. S. Mill. This book critically examines the nature and coherence of Hayek's defence of liberal principles, and tries both to identify its weaknesses and to show why it makes such an important contribution to contemporary political theory. Chandran Kukathas argues that Hayek's defence of liberalism is
unsuccessful because it rests on presuppositions which are philosophically incompatible. The unresolved dilemma of Hayek's political philosophy is how to mount a systematic defence of liberalism if one emphasizes
the limited capacity of reason. However, he believes that Hayek's social philosophy offers us a significant theory of the nature of social processes, and is therefore an important account of how this must constrain our choice of political principles. For this reason, Hayek's work is worthy of attention both by supporters and critics of liberalism.
`Easily the best account of Hayek's moral and political thought ... which makes an original and significant contribution to liberal theory and to political philosophy.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'An important and thorough study.'
Andrew Gamble, University of Sheffield, Political Studies
Abbreviations; Introduction: Hayek's enterprise; Hayek's intentions; Approaching Hayek; Hayek's Liberal inheritance: Hume; Kant; Taking Hayek seriously; Constructivism and justice: Introduction; The nature of mind and knowledge; The critique of constructivism; Hayek and Rawls; Some implications of Hayek's critique of constructivism; Individualism and social theory: Introduction; Social justice and the theory of spontaneous order; The radical
critique of individualism; Individualism and social theory; The theory of liberty: Introduction; The argument for liberty; The definition of liberty; Liberty and the rule of law; Conclusion; Ethics and
the Liberal order: Introduction; Hayek as a Kantian Liberal; Hayek as a Conservative; Hayek as a Utilitarian; Hayek's moral theory; Hayek and modern Liberalism: Introduction; Hayek's project and its assessment; Hayek's contribution to modern Liberal theory