Friedrich Hayek vs. Karl Popper : elements for a debate on economic knowledge

Christian Schmidt and David Versailles

Table of Contents


Hayek’s and Popper’s bibliographies, their biographies, their methodological theses in favor of individualism, their common commitment against historicism, historism and planism, and crossed references in their writings bring us to infer (at least) some intellectual debate between them, or even some deeper mutual understanding. It is not. Hayek and Popper demonstrate on their own that history cannot provide the social sciences with nomological statements. This confusing coincidence and their “friendship” are nothing but the conclusion of autonomous and together irrelevant views about scientific knowledge in economics. We inquire in this paper their analysis of historicism and the status they attribute to experiments; we conclude that Hayek and Popper opted for diverging paths in the epistemology of the social sciences.


Anticipations, Economic calculus, Scientific knowledge, Historicism, Methodological individualism, Monism

Classification JEL : B19, B31, B41