Two More Passages from Hayek

Two other passages from Hayek’s “The Counter-Revolution of Science” that seemed worth quoting, ironically because of their fundamental importance for psychology.

It is that not only those mental entities, such as “concepts” or “ideas,” which are commonly recognized as “abstractions,” but all mental phenomena, sense perceptions and images as well as the more abstract “concepts” and “ideas,” must be regarded as acts of classification performed by the brain.1

The whole idea of the variability of the human mind is a direct result of the erroneous belief that mind is an object which we observe as we observe physical facts. The sole difference between mind and physical objects, however, which entitles us to speak of mind at all is precisely that wherever we speak of mind we interpret what we observe in terms of categories which we know only because they are the categories in which our own mind operates. There is nothing paradoxical in the claim that all mind must run in terms of certain universal categories of thought, because where we speak of mind this means that we can successfully interpret what we observe by arranging it in these categories. And anything which can be comprehended through our understanding of other minds, anything which we recognize as specifically human, must be comprehensible in terms of these categories.2

  1. Friedrich A. Hayek : The Counter-Revolution of Science : Part One, Scientism and the Study of Society : The Objectivism of the Scientistic Approach
  2. Friedrich A. Hayek : The Counter-Revolution of Science : Part One, Scientism and the Study of Society : The Historicism of the Scientistic Approach