Hayek and Pragmatism: Is a Libertarian Dewey or a Classically Liberal Ironism possible?
In this paper, Alan Reynolds argues that pragmatists like John Dewey should take Hayek’s criticisms in the knowledge problem seriously and consider capitalism as a tool to accomplish certain ends. After all, both Hayek and Dewey come from similar post-enlightenment epistemological positions. From the abstract:
"In this paper, I will argue that the insights of Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek can help us see that John Dewey’s fallibilist epistemology is not compatible with his socialist political commitments. Hayek’s basic insight is that a proper appreciation of the limits and fallibility of human knowledge should lead us to strongly appreciate the undesigned social coordinating mechanisms of the market and its price signals, and lead us to be wary of state control of the economy. The claim of this paper is that Dewey’s Hayek-sounding epistemological commitments undermine his Old Left socialist political commitments, and Hayek is an excellent guide to demonstrating why this is the case."
In the end he goes into Richard Rorty’s call for pragmatism and the left to be less defined as anti-capitalist. But I think the same criticism may apply to Rorty in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Why should social democracy be the tool of alleviating human suffering when, if we take Hayek seriously, it seems spontaneous order is the tool that does so?
What are your thoughts, is such a free market friendly pragmatism possible?