I'm currently writing my dissertation on Praxeology for my (BA).
As such, I'm trying to find as many critics of the theory as I can, and then some supporting evidence to destroy them.
I've already dealt with Caplan, Guiterrez and Calder thus far, but browsing the web, I came across this:
Anyone here read, or responded to this peice? If so, if you could provide the link, I'd be much obliged.
Also: If you have any other material on this topic, or thoughts, imput, please throw in your two cents.
I don't think Praxeology can be defended tbh.
Please elaborate! It's all valuable information.
The article linked does the job better than I can, but my main problem with Praxeology is that its claims to being apodictically certain are completely overblown. I've never once met anyone able to deduce economic laws from the Action Axiom without slipping in assumptions that require empirical evidence. So Praxeology's claim to being a-priori are nonsense.
Consumariat:The article linked does the job better than I can, but my main problem with Praxeology is that its claims to being apodictically certain are completely overblown. I've never once met anyone able to deduce economic laws from the Action Axiom without slipping in assumptions that require empirical evidence. So Praxeology's claim to being a-priori are nonsense.
I've read in many texts that praxeology, in full as it pertains to economics, accepts some assumptions (although, I've pretty much seen this as I have written as the statement before these parentheses; I've never found what specific assumptions are made), but could you elaborate on what specific empirical evidence praxeology requires?
If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH
Consumariat:The article linked does the job better than I can, but my main problem with Praxeology is that its claims to being apodictically certain are completely overblown.
This kind of depends on what you mean. Apodicticity can mean both the way samething can be said to be true, and the way something actually is true. So a logical argument like: "(A→B), (B→C), Therefore (A→C)" is an apodictic argument, regardless of whether or not it is true after we fill in the variables. When we talk about apodictic certainty with economic laws, this is what we mean. Its not that we are claiming infallibility, its that the form of our argument. We are saying "So long as A implies B, then yadda yadda yadda."
I've never once met anyone able to deduce economic laws from the Action Axiom without slipping in assumptions that require empirical evidence. So Praxeology's claim to being a-priori are nonsense.
What I think you're talking about here, are the questions like "is that person acting?" or "is this thing money?" Those are important empirical questions, but they have to do with the application of economic laws more than the laws themselves. So long as that person is acting, and so long as this thing is money, we can discover certain economic truths through reason alone. That's all that is meant by a priori.
And if it turns out that no one is acting (which is absurd), it wouldn't disprove praxeology, just render it unapplicable.
they said we would have an unfair fun advantage
Just out of curiosity, what is your major?
"So long as that person is acting, and so long as this thing is money, we can discover certain economic truths through reason alone. "
Show me. I have never seen anyone do so successfully.
Also note that "apodictic certainty" doesn't mean that the action axiom is an obligatory assumption, a confusion that I think many people have. You don't have to assume anything because you don't even have to talk about human action if you don't want to. But if we are talking about human action, then we know things about it with certainty - the same kind of certainty by which we know a "bachelor" is an "unmarried man" - that is, by virtue of what it is.
The difference between the objects of praxeological reasoning and the objects of, for example, mathematical reasoning is that the former are synthetic (pertaining to what is real) and the latter are analytic (pertaining to that which exists only as an abstraction), while both are a priori. This is why we say that the form of reasoning employed in praxeology is synthetic a priori. Translated into plain language: praxeology is a body of knowledge about the real world (synthetic) which is certainly true before we observe anything (a priori).
The modernists are needlessly skittish about the synthetic a priori - they see an angel or God hiding behind every synthetic a priori rock. But there is nothing religious or even spiritual about praxeology. It is a wholly materialistic science except insofar as it adopts a methodological dualism regarding human nature in order to cope with the complexity and indefinability of human behavior.
Hoppe explains this all in excruciating detail here. I highly recommend everyone to watch it (h/t Nielsio).
This quote from the article is very illuminating of the nature of the dispute between Austrian and other schools of economics:
“Acceptance of Mises’ stated axioms does not necessarily imply acceptance of the “principles” or “applications to reality” which he has drawn from them even though his logic may be impeccable. When a logical chain grows beyond the limits set by stated assumptions, it uses unstated assumptions. The number of unstated assumptions (axioms, postulates, or other) in Human Action is enormous. If Mises denies this, let him try to rewrite his book as a set of numbered axioms, postulates, and syllogistic inferences using, say, Russell’s Principia” (Schuller 1951: 188).
Basically, Schuller's challenge translates to a demand that Mises reconstruct the human brain/mind in all its possible variations from rudimentary logic, that is, that Mises provide a complete, mechanistic model of human nature. But this entirely misses the point that Austrian economics is alone in recognizing that human nature is impossibly complex and any attempt to model it is fraught with insurmountable theoretical problems. Mises isn't trying to brush over the complexity of human nature, quite the opposite, he's the only one taking it seriously. It is those who blindly apply the calculus of variations to human behavior as if human beings are so many whirling gears and levers who are guilty of glibly passing over the complexities of human nature.
Any empirical approach to social science must either remain silent on human nature (tabula rasa) or it must be guilty of over-simplifying human nature. Praxeology uniquely treats human nature as contentful (we have some kind of nature by virtue of being human, we are not a tabula rasa) but avoids the mistake of glossing over the complexity of human nature with partial differential equations. Also, praxeology does not attempt to say what human nature is beyond the fact that there is some human nature (it exists) and that it strives to attain ends through the use of means. The particular ends which humans choose comprise the content of human nature and Mises explicitly identifies the identification of actual human ends as an empirical problem lying outside the scope of praxeology.
List me the economic laws that can be shown to be true a-priori, and lay down the logic right here. Step, by step; major premise, minor premise, conclusion, etc etc. Show me this logical rigour you speak of.
@Cons: Rather than typing what Hoppe says in the lecture, I'll direct your attention once again to Hoppe's lecture linked above.
Is it just repeating what he says in his book?
@Cons: Jump here for a list of several economic axioms.
The salient point here is that the action axiom is self-evidently true. Whether it's a priori, empirical, sythentic, analytic, etc is irrelevant. What ever you consider mathematics, geometry, and verbal logic to be, then you must consider economic propositions as belonging in that same category. In my opinion, Mises adopted the term "a priori" in Human Action just to emphasize the self-evdient truthfulness of the axiom. By doing this, he certainly garnered attention to the subject didn't he? This axiom isn't a priori (in the absolute most rigid sense) because, like mathematics, it has to be grasped and understood first, but to classify it as emprical is out of touch with orthodoxy; reflective a priori is probably the best term to use.
To me, this debate is trivial. For starters if anyone denies the truth factor of this axiom, then please write up a piece that shows how denying this self-evident axiom is not a performative contradiction.
As for praxeology critics, just look for anyone that denies a priori statements. Schlick and co., Popper, any other post-positivist.