This book examines the work of one of the most controversial figures in recent social and political thought. Revered by some as the most important twentieth century theorist of the free society, Hayek has been reviled by others as a mere reactionary. Impartial throughout, the author offers aclear exposition and balanced assessment, that judges Hayek's theory by its own lights.The author argues that the key to understanding Hayek lies in an appreciation of the proper link between descriptive social science and normative political theory. He probes the idea of a spontaneous order and other notions central to Hayek's thought and concludes that they are unable to providethe 'scientific' foundation Hayek seeks for his liberalism. By drawing out the distinctive character of Hayek's thought, the author presents a new and more accurate picture of this important social and political theorist.