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Aristotelian-Thomism, anthropology, etc.

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pazlenchantinrocks Posted: Thu, Jul 24 2008 5:04 AM

I haven't the background to be able to elaborate on such topics at any length without making a fool of myself.  However, I would like to change all that.  I have gained an interest in the study of anthropology and have come to find that its current state is in utter shambles as far as I can tell.  Postmodernism reeks of utter confusion and chaos, yet it is the standard by which many anthropologists apply themselves.  I would someday like to change that.


I have this idea that would need much further study on my part.  If life permits, I would like to one day see something written from an aritotelian-thomist position on anthropology with the intent to dispell the current and utterly ridiculous notions held by many anthropologists today.  I am not going to attest to the accuracy of my claims here, because as I said before, I lack the background to elaborate without making a fool of myself.  However, I am willing to toss a few ideas out there to see if they take root in the minds of others.  With any luck at all, someone much wiser than myself could help me in my endeavor.


I'm absolutely certain that I will be oversimplifying just about everything I am about to say, but I need to vent this and see what happens.


I find that the anthropologists are readily able to toss the idea of a natrual law aside quite easily.  I'm sure there are various reasons for this, but one that would tend to stick out in my mind is notion that the natural law has its foundation in god/dogma/religion.  Without a basis for natural law grounded in reason (as Rothbard so eloquently provided in the Ethics of Liberty), the credibility of natural law would seem to me in the eyes of anthropologists as being tainted forever.

This brings me to my next problem.  This has more to do with economic laws.  Many anthropologists fall into the category of "substantivists," wherein they do not see economic laws as something universal.  Instead they tend to resort to an apparent relativism with a complete diregard for and (from an Austrian's perspective) a sheer ignorance of the topic of economics as such.  Rectifying this situation among the mainstream, at the very least, would require laying out the proofs for economic laws empirically.  This, in turn, creates more roadblocks.  As we are all well aware, empiricism (generally speaking) in economic science is absurd.  However, providing a detailed defense of praxeology and therefore economics emperically from the aristotelian-thomistic standpoint could very well provide the missing link whilst killing multiple birds with one stone.

As far as my knowledge extends (which isn't very far in comparison to others), postmodern anthropologists have absolutely no way to say anything "true" about essentially anything that has been facets of their fields of research for centuries.  Again, I lack the knowledge to say anything here that would be a statement that wouldn't be considered foolish, but if it is the case that postmodern anthropologists lack the ability to come to any logical conclusions that could be considered "true" with regard to human beings, then why are they still employed?  (We can save the discussion of the state's intellectuals for another time.)  This vacuous environment seems far too ripe to pass up filling it with an epistemology that is actually worth its weight.  Yet, even here I'm at a loss as I also come up short on finding any elaboration on the aristotelian-thomistic approach to validating praxeology and therefore the foundation of epistemology.


Why aren't there more individuals working on this?  And if there are, who are they and what are their works?  I am aware of the article written by Geoffrey Plauche.  It is an excellent read indeed.  However, much work remains.  If an individual were to start reading up on the topic of aristotelian-thomism and its methodology, where should he begin?  Is there anything else on your mind you would like to share?  Are there any more questions that need to be asked?  The thread is wide open!  I'll be looking forward to this one.

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Henry Veatch's Two Logics is a good start, I'd think. I'm sure Geoffrey can recommend even more works, potentially Roderick Long's ones.


Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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hese anthropologists don't seem like very objective scientists.


Henry Veatch has some good stuff that might be useful.


Roderick Long too:

"The Nature of Law"

What the Hell is Praxeology?

"Anti-Psychologism in Economics: Wittgenstein and Mises"

"Realism and Abstraction in Economics: Aristotle and Mises vs. Friedman"

Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action (Book draft)

"Rule-following, Praxeology, and Anarchy" (PDF file)

 Reason and Value: Aristotle vs Rand

Praxeological Foundations of Libertarian Ethics: Philosophy Seminar with Roderick Long (; see the media archives)



Douglas Rasmussen and Douglas Den Uyl, Liberty and Nature

Douglas Rasmussen, "A groundwork for rights: Man's Natural End"

Douglas Den Uyl, "In Defense of Natural End Ethics"

Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} -->  Bradie and Miller, “Teleology and Natural Necessity in Aristotle,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 1 (April 1984): 133-146.

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F.A. Hayek's Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. 1: Rules and Order

Tom Bell, "Polycentric Law" (and a few otwer essays on his website dealing with the same subject)

Albert Loan’s Institutional Bases of the Spontaneous Order: Surety and Assurance

  • Bruce Benson’s The Enterprise of Customary Law
  • Bruce Benson’s Customary Law With Private Means of Resolving Disputes (PDF file)
  • Bruce Benson’s Enforcement of Private Property Rights in Primitive Societies (PDF file)
  • Bruce Benson’s Guns for Protection and Other Private-Sector Responses to Crime (PDF file)
  • Bruce Benson’s Reciprocal Exchange as the Basis for Recognition of Law (PDF file)
  • Bruno Leoni’s Freedom and the Law
  • Bruno Leoni’s Law and Politics
  • There's some other good stuff on the political theory reading list too. Roderick has some papers on Athens and Iceland. There's on on the "Wild Wild" West.

    Yours in liberty,
    Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
    Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
    Founder / Executive Editor,

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    I've been looking more into this Henry Veatch fellow and he seems to have written the type of work that I've been looking for.  Would any of you happen to know anything about his work entitled, "Intentional Logic: A Logic Based on Philosophical Realism?"  I think this coupled with "Two Logics" ought to suffice for the time being.  Any pointers?


    Thanks to both of you for replying, btw. It's greatly appreciated.

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    ayrnieu replied on Sat, Jul 26 2008 3:23 AM
    Hoppe has a Economy, Society, and History seminar that you may find relevant. Insofar as anthropologists appeal to polylogism (as in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind), Chapter III of Human Action may help you reply to them. Insofar as they produce history, Theory and History should help. See also Market Behavior in the Ancient World, for a rebuttal of the position that catallactics does not apply to ancient society.
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