Working paper series // Frankfurt School of Finance & Management 130
The standard economic treatment of knowledge mixes a mentalist approach in game theory and an externalist approach in growth theory and related fields. This confusing state requires a philosophical clarification. I propose to start out from F.A von Hayek’s approach developed in his book on The Sensory Order. Hayek develops an externalist approach based on neuronal monism in which the category of mental states appears as an internal construct that fills the gap which results from the fundamental impossibility that any kind of neuronal system can fully explain itself. However, Hayek does not fully develop on the potential of his own approach, especially with reference to his companion concept of distributed knowledge. I propose to connect his line of thinking with modern externalist conceptions of the mind. By this line of thinking, I can provide a philosophical foundation for recent arguments against intellectual property rights which have been systematized by Boldrin and Levine. The notion of IPR is actually lacking an ontological reference, as it falsely assumes a reification and individualization of mental facts, which is impossible to maintain in a distributed knowledge framework.
Distributed knowledge externalism Hayek Gödel theorem intellectual property rights