Showing posts from June, 2021

Hayek’s Error 2: The Missing Evolutionary Stages

As well as reasons previously given for objecting to Hayek’s definitions of a hypothetical distinction between rules of society and of government, there is an objection on grounds of history and ideal types. I refer to Hayek’s method of contrasting tribal society and modern society, which though also improbable as a hypothesis of spontaneous order, has more to commend it. Hayek:  “The great change which produced an order of society which became increasingly incomprehensible to man, and for the preservation of which he had to submit to learnt rules which were often contrary to his innate instincts, was the transition from the face-to-face society, or at least of groups consisting of known and recognisable members, to the open abstract society that was no longer held together by common concrete ends but only by the obedience to the same abstract rules.” In the conceptual opposition of tribal society with modern society I find some grounds for a rigorous hypothesis for the probable existe

Hayek’s Error 1: The Unprovable Rules of Society

Hayek persuasively communicated to a wide audience several essential truths about the modern economy and society that had long been neglected or denied. In the late twentieth century we had Hayek more than any other thinker to thank for the taking hold of sound beliefs about the benefits to society of competitive processes, the impersonal nature of the market economy, and the desirability of reducing the range and quantity of services that states are called upon to provide.  Hayek had a tremendous influence on the West’s dominant ideologies in the 1980s.  If we now enquire why these ideas no longer exert much influence, should we include a consideration of the methodological quality of the Hayekian thesis? For example, did Hayek integrate a simple clearly-understood contradiction in his central hypothesis about the evolution of modern liberal society? Was his hypothesis found to be ill-defined and unprovable?  I, for one, am not convinced by Hayek’s explanation of the locus and pro

Leibniz 3: Binaries in Contradiction and Extrapolation

Fred Williams 'Lysterfield Landscape' 1966 If I hypothesise that a binary code is a rule born of a contradiction, what are the methods by which an hypothesis of the origins of the binary code can be constructed? In Leibniz’s method of universal science there is to be found the requirement for a contradiction or opposition to be built in to every hypothesis. Logically, the symbol of the contradiction in the hypothesis could take a binary form.  Objective judgement of the methodological quality of the hypothesis is based on detection of a contradiction if the hypothesis is to encompass simplicity, understandability, multiplicity of applications, and minimal assumptions. Leibniz:  “As long as we have only a nominal definition, we cannot be sure of the consequences drawn from it, for if it concealed some contradiction or impossibility, we could draw conflicting conclusions.” Leibniz:  “Demonstration is reasoning by which some proposition is made certain. This is achieved whenever

Leibniz 2: Symbols of Synthesis in Intuitions

  Fred Williams not titled [Lysterfield landscape] 1966-1967 While testing the hypothesis I establish with a high degree of probability that impersonality was intuited at its origin by governance actors who had not necessarily followed a scientific process of explaining or defining the concept. Is this possible? Wittgenstein thought it was, through repeated encounters with a tacit rule. Leibniz’s method of hypothesising does not exclude the possibility that these actors can have conceptualised impersonality symbolically, as a discovery. To me it looks like a simple deduction. Leibniz: “Since the individual concept of each person includes once and for all everything which can ever happen to him, one sees in it a priori proofs or reasons for the truths of each event and why one has happened rather than another … And we are now maintaining that everything that happens to some person is already contained virtually in his nature or concept, just as the properties of the circle are contained

Leibniz 1: Elemental Qualities of Hypotheses

Fred Williams not titled [Lysterfield landscape with pool] 1965 The hypothesis that has for some time guided my social science is — good governance is almost always impersonal governance. I can demonstrate a high probability of the truth of that statement. Adjustments towards impersonality have been progressive for society. Adjustments away from it have been regressive.  As the investigation continues the hypothesis does not become more complex. It only expands by integrating descriptive detail that commits to memory the contexts where the phenomenon is encountered and perceptions of its multiple dimensions. I also borrow, rebuild and sometimes invent ideal type concepts that accurately describe the phenomenon. Impersonal governance is an ideal type concept, as are concepts such as system, state, code, functional differentiation, and separation of power. Ideal types synthesise observed elements of complex realities with a pure abstraction that accentuates the special qualities of a g