Print page

The Political Sociology of Freedom

Adam Ferguson and F.A. Hayek The late Ronald Hamowy, formerly Professor Emeritus of History, University of Alberta, Canada, Affiliate Professor of Economics, George Mason University and Fellow, Social Philosophy and Policy Center, US
Adam Ferguson and Friedrich Hayek, separated by a period of almost two hundred years, made original but similar contributions to the field of theoretical sociology. In this collection of essays, Ronald Hamowy explores the life and work of these two thinkers, giving special emphasis to their insights into the diffusion of knowledge.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978 1 84542 108 3
Availability: In Stock
$0.00

Buy the E-Book @ paperback price

Join our mailing list

  • Economics and Finance
  • Austrian Economics
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
Adam Ferguson and Friedrich Hayek, separated by a period of almost two hundred years, made original but similar contributions to the field of theoretical sociology. In this collection of essays, Ronald Hamowy explores the life and work of these two thinkers, giving special emphasis to their insights into the diffusion of knowledge.

Ferguson, a giant of the Scottish Enlightenment, can be credited with laying the foundations of theoretical history by first proposing the idea that social institutions undergo evolutionary change. He theorized that while these institutions are formed by the actions of human beings, they are not the product of human design. Less than two centuries later, Hayek extended this insight to dealing with economic and social interaction, arguing that the knowledge requisite for structuring the social institutions under which we live is far too complex to be comprehended by any one mind or group of thinkers, and that these institutions had in fact evolved over long periods of time without deliberate design. Hayek was also the first to introduce the notion that market processes are a function of all participants contributing the limited knowledge that each possesses, out of which an orderly arrangement of enormous complexity emerges.

Scholars and students of sociology, economics, history and political theory will find The Political Sociology of Freedom a unique and provocative read.
‘The Political Sociology of Freedom collects a number of insightful and finely crafted essays written by Ronald Hamowy over a period of three decades. The collection will provide a very valuable resource for scholars interested in Friedrich Hayek, Adam Ferguson, the Scottish Enlightenment, the rule of law and the idea of spontaneous order.’
– Peter McNamara, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

‘The essays offer great value to anyone interested in the Scots or Hayek. Hamowy is learned, insightful, and eloquent. In my opinion, the reader may put great trust in his judgment.’
– Daniel B. Klein, Review of Austrian Economics

‘In The Political Sociology of Freedom, Ronald Hamowy demonstrates that he is one of the leading scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment and its project for the social sciences and political theory.’
– Peter J. Boettke, George Mason University, US

‘Ronald Hamowy’s foundational study of the Scottish Enlightenment provides a framework for his further critical assessments of the political and juridical contributions of F.A. Hayek, one of its great interpreters. This collection, which shows the full range of Hamowy’s scholarship, is both timely and very welcome.’
– Bruce Caldwell, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, US
Contents: Foreword Introduction 1. Progress and Commerce in Anglo-American Thought: The Social Philosophy of Adam Ferguson 2. Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and the Division of Labour 3. The Scottish Enlightenment and the Theory of Spontaneous Order Appendix: Works by the Scottish Writers Discussed in this Essay 4. Two Whig Views of the American Revolution: Adam Ferguson’s Response to Richard Price 5. F.A. Hayek on the Occasion of the Centenary of his Birth 6. Book Reviews: Hayek on Hayek: An Autobiographical Dialogue 7. A Note on Hayek and Anti-Semitism 8. Freedom and the Rule of Law in F.A. Hayek 9. The Hayekian Model of Government in an Open Society 10. F.A. Hayek and the Common Law Index