I am organizing a session for the Association for Private Enterprise Education conference to be held April 11-13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme is “Reason in Hayek and Rand.”
Here we have two giants of twentieth-century thought, but few comparative studies have been done. So as a start I have chosen Reason as a focusing theme and have solicited papers from several scholars on topics such as the following:
* Hayek is more focused on reason’s role in social causation while Rand is more focused on reason as an individual phenomenon. True?
* Is it accurate to say that Hayek is a sociologist of reason while Rand is a philosopher of reason?
* Hayek is an empiricist, broadly speaking, as is Rand, but Hayek’s reason is more Humean while Rand’s is more Aristotelian. True?
* Hayek has been interpreted as being a skeptic about reason and as tending to postmodernism (e.g., by Theodore Burczak). True? And if so, does this put him in direct contrast to Rand, who is a strong anti-skeptic?
* Hayek sometimes seems ambivalent about the relation between reason-based discoveries of social science and normative issues. Rand tightly integrates reason’s descriptive and normative functions. Issue here?
* On socialism: Hayek argues a reason-as-fatal-conceit thesis, while Rand places the blame primarily on an ultimately irrational altruism. Are these interpretations complementary or in conflict?
When the session’s panel is finalized, I’ll post it.