Anti-Psychologism in Economics: Wittgenstein and Mises

Roderick T. Long
Department of Philosophy, Auburn University

The Review of Austrian Economics, 17:4, 345–369, 2004.


Ludwig Wittgenstein’s arguments for the conclusion that whatever counts as thought must embody logical principles can likewise be deployed to show that whatever counts as action must embody economic principles, a conclusion which in turn provides the basis for a defense of Ludwig von Mises’ controversial claim that the laws of economics are a priori rather than empirical. The Wittgensteinian approach also points the way toward a transcendence of the intractable disputes among present-day Austrians over formalist versus hermeneutical, analytic versus synthetic, and impositionist versus reflectionist interpretations of economic method.

Key Words: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ludwig von Mises, anti-psychologism, praxeology

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Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)