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.

Abstract

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)

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