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Economic Science and the Austrian Method Paperback – February 26, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig Von Mises Institute; 2 edition (February 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 094546620X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945466208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A definitive defense of the methodological foundations of Austrian economics. Hoppe sets the praxeological view (economics as a purely deductive science) against positivism, while taking the critics of the Austrian approach head on. Hans-Hermann Hoppe rests his argument on the Kantian idea of the "synthetic apriori" proposition, thereby expanding an aim of Mises's in the methodology section of Human Action. Hoppe is the Austrian School's most prominent methodologist, and here he is in top form. He combines a rigorous scientific explanation with fantastic passion and rhetoric.

These lectures astonished students at the Mises University when they were first delivered. They were later turned into this monograph, which has been a staple of Austrian pedagogy ever since. The volume includes:

Preface, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

I. Praxeology and Economic Science II. On Praxeology and the Praxeological Foundations of Epistemology

Customer Reviews

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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on January 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (1949- ) is a philosopher and economist writing in the "classical" Austrian tradition, which is to say in the tradition of Mises and Rothbard. He is also one of the most creative thinkers in that tradition. (His work, Democracy: The God that Failed, is a brilliant extension of Austrian thought into the realm of politics.)

This little work (which is a collection of some stuff previously printed) provides a good introduction to and defense of Austrian methodology. The question is this: what is the status of the laws and principles of economics? Are principles such as "the law of marginal utility" everywhere and on all occasions true, or are they empirical generalizations subject to falsification? Mises - writing in the tradition of Kant and Leibniz - argued that the principles of economics are a priori. Misesian methodology therefore falls within the Kantian and rationalist tradition. (Hoppe rejects the interpretation of Kant given by Rand as "arrogant ignorance.) Economics, according to Mises, is closer to disciplines such as logic and mathematics than it is to the natural sciences. In his defense of the Austrian method, Prof. Hoppe provides brief but useful critiques of empiricism, historicism, and relativism.
Mises's central works in this area are Human Action, Epistemological Problems of Economics, Theory and History, and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Antonis on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Austrian economic theory has a peculiar characteristic which distinguishes it from other various schools of thought within economics. That fundamental difference lies in its philosophy of knowledge, the basic assumptions that one takes on the nature of knowledge, and in this case of how to interpret and investigate phenomena.

Modern schools of thought (Neo-classical or Keynesian economics, for example) are strongly based on empiricism, and the application of the scientific method as a way of explaining economic activity. This philosophy of knowledge and methodology has been imported from the natural sciences into the social sciences, due to its successful application in fields such as physics or chemistry. In economics, empiricism has strongly established itself in the field and is still influential in the formation of economic theory. Austrian economists, following the philosophy of von Mises, are directly opposed to the application of empiricism in economics, and propose an alternative philosophy of knowledge which von Mises described as praxeology. Praxeology is strongly influenced by the Kantian philosophical tradition of knowledge, and in particular, of the concept of a priori knowledge.

Hoppe's book is a critique on the application of empiricism in economics, and a defence of praxeology as the logical and desirable alternative to the current empirical tradition. As a summary of the Austrian position on methodology, this book is quite successful. However, do not be fooled by its small size. This is a dense book, quite rich in philosophical vocabulary, and can be proven a difficult read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on December 21, 2008
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Hoppe writes a very heady defense of the Austrian economic tradition. As many traditional economic theories seem to be failing us in these times, Austrian economics are getting a second glance. This book is not an intro for the lay reader - it's a book about methodology. Most specifically, it defends the belief that economics should an abstract science (similar to mathematics and logic) as opposed to an empirical science (similar to chemistry).

While I disagree with the conculsions, the arguments are worth knowing. The difference in theoretical versus empirical work is also a key difference between the Austrian and Chicago schools.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Hunt on May 16, 2011
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outstanding little book for those who are ready to take on a more difficult read. covers the philosophical foundation of economics. i enjoyed it immensely.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on January 25, 2010
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Hoppe's little book here is less than a 100 pages but i feel that I could write millions of pages about the wealth of ideas contained inside. This is economics written in the grand old philosophical spirit, in Hoppe's wonderfully uncompromising and logically rigorous style. This is strongly recommended to the following types of people: (1) anyone who appreciates Mises or Rothbard who has not yet read Hoppe; (2) any "mainstream" economist who wants an introduction and strong defense of the Austrian paradigm; (3) any intelligent laymen who thinks economics is the "dismal science" and wants to get a taste of how exciting and fascinating economics really can be.

_Economic Science and the Austrian Method_ does a wonderful job of explicating and defending the Austrian, or more specifically the Misesian, or "praxeologic", foundations of economic analysis. At the same time it suggests a promising re-interpretation of traditional rationalist philosophy from within the framework of praxeology. Hence, these writings are not just important for economics, but rationalist epistemology in general. Hoppe wants rationalist philosophers to find strength in praxeology, as the strongest defense against skepticism and relativism. He also wants economists in the Misesian tradition to see their place in the broader picture of philosophical rationalism.

Hoppe sees three competing philosophies that claim to offer a foundation for economics. He sets up his position contra empiricism and historicism, which he finds to be contradictory philosophies that cannot provide the proper foundations required. (Please note, some reviewers have completely misinterpreted this -- historicism is NOT the same as [economic] history.) With the contenders decisively refuted, rationalism stands vindicated.
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