By F. A. Hayek

ISBN-10: 1134524390

ISBN-13: 9781134524396

First released in 1982. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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Since for Descartes reason was defined as logical deduction from explicit premises, rational action also came to mean only such action as was determined entirely by known and demonstrable truth. It is almost an inevitable step from this to the conclusion that only what is true in this sense can lead to successful action, and that therefore everything to which man owes his achievements is a product of his reasoning thus conceived. Institutions and practices which have not been designed in this manner can be beneficial only by accident.

We shall see that such confusions are at the root of the basic conceptions of highly influential schools of thought which have wholly succumbed to the belief that all rules or laws must have been invented or explicitly agreed upon by somebody. Only when it is wrongly assumed that all rules of just conduct have deliberately been made by somebody do such sophisms become plausible as that all power of making laws must be arbitrary, or that there must always exist an ultimate 'sovereign' source of power from which all law derives.

29 After the beginnings made by the Scottish philosophers, the systematic development of the evolutionary aprqach to social phenomena took place mainly in Germany through Wilhelm von Humboldt and F. C. von Savigny. We cannot consider here that development in linguistics, although for a long time it was the only field outside of economics where a coherent theory was achieved, and the extent to which since Roman times the theory of law has been fertilized by conceptions borrowed from the grammarians deserves to be better understood than it is.

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Law, Legislation and Liberty : a New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy by F. A. Hayek


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