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Monday, January 21, 20081200922124

Is Austrian Economics Pseudo-Science?

Razib of gnxp thinks so:

The "grasped a priori" part has really bothered me. I mean, I read psychology and history, I can't derive it a priori. Recently I was going over some issues in modern Middle Eastern history, and learned that King Hussein of Jordan had apparently asked Israel for permission to send a brigade to Syria to invade the Jewish state during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Honestly, I really don't know if I could ever grasp Arab psychology a priori. The more and more I read about psychology the more I think that anyone who believes that they could develop an axiomatic system of human action from insights they grasped a priori is totally retarded (mad props to Aristotle though, he worked before the cognitive revolution)...

My readings in psychology and history makes it very difficult for me to understand how anyone could adhere to a Misesian form of Austrianism with its commitment to praxeology. In short, I really think praxeology is a rotten foundation for any system of thought.

I don't care for the personal attacks in Razib's original post, but he raises a good question: considering how bad we are at introspection, why should we trust introspection to build an economic order?

Anyone from Chicago Boyz care to answer?


Can anyone disguise an assertion by saying it in the form of a question?


Posted by: Jeffrey James | Monday, January 21, 2008

Sure, but I'm very sympathetic to Austrian economics, so I'm hopeful that the answer is "no"! :-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, January 21, 2008

No economic school is science; economics is an art, as well as investing. If you just use metrics, you get LTCM.
The Austrian school is the one most concerned with freedom, so its my choice.

Posted by: Mark | Thursday, January 24, 2008


Is this critique of quantitative methods unique to economics, or are all social sciences equally misguided?

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 24, 2008


I don't see why we have to dismiss quantitative analysis (economic or otherwise) as long as we retain some sort of Hayekian perspective of our own shortcomings ...

Posted by: vimothy | Thursday, January 24, 2008

I went into some more detail on the pluses and cons of quantitative methods, after reading some Conversation Analysis stuff by Paul ten Have that drove me to frustration


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, January 28, 2008