Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (Suny Series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences) (Suny Series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (Paperback))
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
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Develops a critique of utopianism through a comparison of the works of Karl Marx and F. A. Hayek, challenging conventional views of both Marxian and Hayekian thought.
This book develops a critique of utopianism through a provocative comparison of the works of Karl Marx and F. A. Hayek, thus engaging two vastly different traditions in critical dialogue. By emphasizing the methodological and substantive similarities between Marxian and Hayekian perspectives, it challenges each tradition's most precious assumptions about the other. Through this comparative analysis, the book articulates the crucial distinctions between utopian and radical theorizing.
Sciabarra examines the dialectical method of social inquiry common to both Marxian and Hayekian thought and argues that both Marx and Hayek rejected utopian theorizing because it internalizes an abstract, ahistorical, exaggerated sense of human possibility. The chief disagreement between Marx and Hayek, he shows, is not political but epistemological, reflecting their differing assumptions about the limits of reason.
"Sciabarra argues that Hayek and Marx shared a dialectic approach, an appreciation for the importance of context, and a disdain for utopian thinking. The major difference between Hayek and Marx is 'epistemic' or rather in the assumptions they make about the possible progress of human knowledge … Few others have … engaged in such a detailed and enlightening comparison." — Karen Vaughn, author of Austrian Economics in America
"This is a shockingly original piece of work, closely and cleverly argued, skillfully organized, and scholarly in the extreme … It is a very tolerant work, open to and looking for the strengths in both traditions." — Bertell Ollman, author of Dialectical Investigations
"Sciabarra's work is interesting and challenging and ultimately an important source for thinking about the nature of political radicalism." — Radical Philosophy Review of Books
"This intriguing book crosses a gulf between two camps in social philosophy that rarely address one another … Sciabarra should be praised for forcing us to give up our comfortable caricatures of Marx and Hayek as figures in absolute 'dualistic' opposition." — Canadian Philosophical Reviews
"...with Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, as well as Marx, Hayek, and Utopia now under his belt, Sciabarra has emerged as one of the most provocative, and enjoyable, writers on the history of ideas of the twentieth century." — Reason Papers
"Sciabarra's book … makes a valuable contribution by presenting [Hayek's] ideas in an anti-utopian context." — Choice
“We are not apt to speak of Marx and Hayek in the same breath … Sciabarra’s insights into the similarities and differences between these two thinkers are surprisingly original.” — Liberty
sidered the spontaneous, unintended consequences of our past—emergent impulses whose origins we may never fully understand, but whose meaning we must seek to articulate. Indeed, this is one of the prime purposes of depth hermeneutics in the Habermasian reconstruction. In the social sciences and humanities, examples of "order" as a spontaneous, unintended formation abound. The Common Law is a testament to an emergent legality
conscious of it or desiring it."21 The producers will have "a perfect understanding" of social forces, which are "transformed from master demons into willing servants."22 Social organization, the laws of social action, the "extraneous objective forces'' of history, "hitherto standing face to face with man as laws of nature foreign to, and dominating him," will
radical social theorists must recognize that reason is thoroughly embedded in its social context. No theorist can ever fully rise above this context in an act of total self transcendence. In contrast to the synoptic implications of Adorno's immanentist critique, Hayek's own Page 103 approach to immanent criticism allows for a tinkering with the rules of just social conduct even as it remains tied to the traditions it seeks to alter. One can legitimately
12. Barber (1986):15. I recognize that there are many interpretive difficulties in Locke scholarship. In this regard, see especially Vaughn (1980a); (1980b). Interestingly, Kukathas observes that several scholars, such as Avineri and Pelczynski, consider the works of Locke, Hume, Smith, and Ferguson as the inspiration for Hegel's view of civil society as a system of interdependence. See Kukathas (1989):208.
31. Engels ( 1982):362. 32. Sayer (1983):161. Sayer explains that within Marx's method, "we cannot properly say that individuals create society which in turn creates them, for the simple reason that at any point the existence of either presupposes . . . the other." 33. Engels ([1890b] 1982):395. 34. Engels ([1895a] 1982):455. Engels [( 1968):62223], comparing nature and society, emphasizes that in human society, "nothing happens without a