Hayek, Connectionism, and Scientific Naturalism

Here is an excellent paper by Joshua Rust.

Barry Smith (1997, p. 18) observes that ‘‘Hayek is at one with the connectionist tendency within contemporary cognitive science.’’ And at one level of description, Smith is correct. Friedrich Hayek’s question is, in part, a procedural one: by what mechanism does the mental order come to replicate or represent the most general features of the physical order of which it is a part? In response, Hayek posits an associative scheme that bears some resemblance to contemporary connectionist theories of mind. Nevertheless, I shall contend that Hayek is wrongly shoehorned into the connectionist camp. Hayek’s question cannot be the same as the philosophical connectionist because the former does not share the same ontological presuppositions as the latter.