Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason: Text and Documents

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $47.97
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 20%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $47.97   
  • New (2) from $63.03   
  • Used (2) from $47.97   


Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason is a series of fascinating essays on the study of social phenomena. How to best and most accurately study social interactions has long been debated intensely, and there are two main approaches: the positivists, who ignore intent and belief and draw on methods based in the sciences; and the nonpositivists, who argue that opinions and ideas drive action and are central to understanding social behavior. F. A. Hayek’s opposition to the positivists and their claims to scientific rigor and certainty in the study of human behavior is a running theme of this important book.

Hayek argues that the vast number of elements whose interactions create social structures and institutions make it unlikely that social science can predict precise outcomes. Instead, he contends, we should strive to simply understand the principles by which phenomena are produced. For Hayek this modesty of aspirations went hand in hand with his concern over widespread enthusiasm for economic planning. As a result, these essays are relevant to ongoing debates within the social sciences and to discussion about the role government can and should play in the economy.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226321097
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Series: Collected Works of F. A. Hayek Series, #13
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and a leading proponent of classical liberalism  in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.

Bruce Caldwell is research professor of economics and director of the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Editorial Foreword      


Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason

Prelude                 Individualism: True and False           

Part One: Scientism and the Study of Society

One                      The Influence of the Natural Sciences on the Social Sciences           

Two                      The Problem and the Method of the Natural Sciences          

Three                    The Subjective Character of the Data of the Social Sciences

Four                      The Individualist and ‘Compositive’ Method of the Social Sciences  

Five                      The Objectivism of the Scientistic Approach

Six                        The Collectivism of the Scientistic Approach

Seven                    The Historicism of the Scientistic Approach 

Eight                     ‘Purposive’ Social Formations         

Nine                      ‘Conscious’ Direction and the Growth of Reason     

Ten                       Engineers and Planners        

Part Two: The Counter-Revolution of Science

Eleven                   The Source of the Scientistic Hubris: L’Ecole Polytechnique          

Twelve                  The “Accoucheur d’Idées”: Henri de Saint-Simon    

Thirteen                 Social Physics: Saint-Simon and Comte       

Fourteen               The Religion of the Engineers: Enfantin and the Saint-Simonians        

Fifteen                   Saint-Simonian Influence     

Sixteen                  Sociology: Comte and His successors          

Part Three: Comte and Hegel

Seventeen             Comte and Hegel    

Appendix: Related Documents

Some Notes on Propaganda in Germany (1939)          

Selected Correspondence, F. A. Hayek to Fritz Machlup (1940–41)   

Preface to the U. S. Edition (1952)      

Preface to the German Edition (1959)  



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)