The Sensory Order and Other Writings on the Foundations of Theoretical Psychology: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Sensory Order and Other Writings on the Foundations of Theoretical Psychology

1st Edition

By F.A Hayek

Edited by Viktor J. Vanberg


404 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415035330
pub: 2017-07-05
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The Sensory Order, first published in 1952, sets forth F. A. Hayek's classic theory of mind in which he describes the mental mechanism that classifies perceptions that cannot be accounted for by physical laws. Hayek's substantial contribution to theoretical psychology has been addressed in the work of Thomas Szasz, Gerald Edelman, and Joaquin Fuster.


"A most encouraging example of a sustained attempt to bring together information, inference, and hypothesis in the several fields of biology, psychology, and philosophy."— Quarterly Review of Biology

Table of Contents



I. The Nature of the Problem

1. What is Mind?

2. The Phenomenal and the Physical World

3. Stimulus, Impulse, and the Theory of the Specific Energy of the Nerves

4. Differences in Quality are Differences in the Effects

5. The Unitary Character of the Sensory Order

6. The Order of Sensory Qualities not Confined to Conscious Experience

7. The Denial or Disregard of Our Problem by Behaviorism

8. The 'Absolute' Qualities of Sensations a Phantom-Problem

II. An Outline of the Theory

1. The Principle of the Explanation

2. The Sensory Order in its Static and in its Dynamic Aspects

3. The Principle of Classification

4. Multiple Classification

5. The Central Thesis

III. The Nervous System as an Instrument of Classification

1. An Inventory of the Physiological Data

2. Simplifying Assumptions on which the Operation of the Principle will be Discussed

3. Elementary Forms of Classification

4. Complex Forms of Classification

5. The Classification of the Relation Between Classes

6. The Universal Character of the Process of Classification: Gestalt Phenomena and Abstract Concepts

IV. Sensation and Behaviour

1. Sensations and the Organism

2. Evolution and the Hierarchal Order of the Nervous System

3. From Specific Reflex to Generalized Evaluation

4. Proprioception of Low-Level Responses

5. Postures and Movements Connected with Perception

6. Patterns of Motor Responses

7. Biogenic Needs and Drives

8. Emotions and the James-Lange Theory

V. The Structure of the Mental Order

1. Pre-Sensory Experience or 'Linkages'

2. The Gradual Formation of a 'Map' Reproducing Relations Between Events in the Environment

3. The 'Map' and the 'Model'

4. Associative Processes

5. Mechanical and Purposive Behaviour

6. The Model-Object Relationship

VI. Consciousness and Conceptual Thought

1. Conscious and Unconscious Mental Processes

2. Criteria of Consciousness

3. The Common Space-Time Framework

4. Attention

5. The Functions of Consciousness

6. 'Concrete' and 'Abstract'

7. Conceptual Thought

VII. Confirmations and Verification of the Theory

1. Observed Facts for which the Theory Accounts

2. Older Theories Comprised as Special Cases

3. New Experiments Suggested

4. Possibilities of Experimental Refutation

VIII. Philosophical Consequences

1. Pre-Sensory Experience and Pure Empiricism

2. Phenomenalism and the Inconstancy of Sensory Qualities

3. Dualisms and Materialism

4. The Nature of Explanation

5. Explanation of the Principle

6. The Limits of Explanation

7. The Division of the Sciences and the 'Freedom of the Will'



About the Author/Editor

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.

Viktor J. Vanberg is Professor Emeritus of Freiburg University and a senior research fellow of the Walter Eucken Institut in Freiburg.

About the Series

The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek

With the appearance of The Sensory Order, Routledge is proud to announce the latest volume in The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek. This major undertaking is already commanding the attention of all economists, social and political scientists and political philosophers, and is an essential addition to all library collections.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History