Homo Mercans - Dr. Naomi Beck
Cultural evolution leads to the rise of a morality governed by the rules of the market instead of “atavistic” sentiments of solidarity and altruism, or so thought Friedrich August von Hayek. Nobel laureate in economics, Hayek’s apology of the free market influenced policy makers such as Margaret Thatcher and continues to appeal to many today. This lecture will examine Hayek’s theory of cultural group selection and its central role in his attack on socialist-type approaches that favour distributive justice. Through a comparison with Darwin’s views, I will highlight some of the problematical aspects in Hayek’s evolutionary account (e.g. the limited place of reason in the evolution of social norms). My analysis will offer a fresh perspective on Hayek’s thought and an evaluation of key theoretical elements that are often overlooked.
Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Studies