A Hayekian Explanation of Hayek’s ‘Epistemic Turn’
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The present essay investigates the development of F.A. Hayek’s thought concerning industrial fluctuations from the perspective of his methodology of sciences of complex phenomena and concludes that – to the extent this evolution is representative of Hayek’s more general ‘epistemic turn’ away from technical economics towards philosophy – there is no mystery concerning the relationship between Hayek’s early technical work and his later more philosophical work. According to Hayek’s methodology, an inquirer who runs into phenomena too complex for adequate explanation on the basis of current knowledge must move to a more general, albeit less testable, explanation. This is precisely what happened in the evolution of Hayek’s thought concerning trade cycles.