Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek were notable 20th century advocates of capitalism. They were two of the most important theorists of the free society and defenders of the free society. Both of them based their political views, in part, on theories in epistemology. David Kelley discusses the radical difference in their views on a core epistemological issue, the nature of abstractions. Rand held that we form abstractions from the observation of particular, concrete things. Hayek held the opposite view that abstractions are primary; some are innate, some acquired from our cultural environment, but neither can be independently supported by observation of concretes. Kelley shows why Hayek's view is both false and inconsistent with a fully individualist moral and political theory.  [This presentation was filmed at the 2010 Free Minds Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.]

Also see: Kelley Paper on Hayek and Rand Published and Classic Kelley Treatise Republished Online

 

  

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David Kelley

About The Author:

Author: David Kelley
David Kelley is the founder and executive director of The Atlas Society. A professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author, he has been a leading proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years.

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