Views of Hayek, Hebb, and Heisenberg: Toward an Approach to Brain Functioning

Neuroscientist Erol Basar on Hayek

F. A. Hayek’s The Sensory Order must rate as one of the most creative books written on general philosophy of neuroscience. Although Hayek was a Noble-prize winner in economics and was not educated as a neuroscientist, his book opens up a new window on neuroscience, and this window certainly offers great possibilities to neuroscientists working on unifying aspects of neuroscience. Guided by the fundamental view of Fuster (1995), I have tried to suggestively interpret Hayek’s concepts firstly as a work on memory and brain dynamics (Basar, 2004), and more recently, as a more general work on the brain–body–mind relationship (Basar, 2010). Although a detailed description and interpretation of Hayek’s philosophical psychology is not possible because of space constraints, I try to explain three concepts that are embedded in the work of Hayek:

1. D. O. Hebb’s learning theory (1949),

2. The S-Matrix concept of quantum dynamics developed by W. Heisenberg (1943), and

3. The Feynman diagrams as a consequence of the S-Matrix theory.