-F.A. Hayek, “The Pretence of Knowledge.” Nobel Prize Lecture delivered on December 11, 1974.
- “We know: of course, with regard to the market and similar social structures, a great many facts which we cannot measure and on which indeed we have only some very imprecise and general information. And because the effects of these facts in any particular instance cannot be confirmed by quantitative evidence, they are simply disregarded by those sworn to admit only what they regard as scientific evidence: they thereupon happily proceed on the fiction that the factors which they can measure are the only ones that are relevant…On this standard there may thus well exist better ‘scientific’ evidence for a false theory, which will be accepted because it is more ‘scientific’, than for a valid explanation, which is rejected because there is no sufficient quantitative evidence for it…I prefer true but imperfect knowledge, even if it leaves much indetermined and unpredictable, to a pretence of exact knowledge that is likely to be false.”
- “Knowledge is perhaps the chief good that can be had at a price, but those who do not already possess it often cannot recognize its usefulness.”
- “We are concerned in this book with that condition of men in which coercion of some by others is reduced as much as possible in society. This state we shall describe throughout as a state of liberty or freedom…The task of a policy of freedom must therefore be to minimize coercion or its harmful effects, even if it cannot eliminate it completely…Whether he is free or not does not depend on the range of choice but on whether he can expect to shape his course of action in accordance with his present intentions, or whether somebody else has power so to manipulate the conditions as to make him act in accordance to that person’s will rather than his own. Freedom thus presupposes that the individual has some assured private sphere, that there is some set of circumstances in his environment with which others cannot interfere.”
- “Whether or not I am my own master and can follow my own choice and whether the possibilities from which I must choose are many or few are two entirely different questions.”
- “Ambition, impatience, and hurry are often admirable in individuals; but they are pernicious if they guide the power of coercion and if improvement depends on those who, when authority is conferred on them, assume that in their authority lies superior wisdom and thus the right to impose their beliefs on others.”