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The Vacuity of Ludwig von Mises’ Apriorism

Scott Scheall

No 3aqcj, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Ludwig von Mises’ methodological apriorism is often attributed to the broader Austrian School of economics. However, there is considerable controversy concerning the meaning of Mises’ justification of his apriorism. There are inconsistencies within and across Mises’ methodological writings that engender confusion in the secondary literature. This confusion is aggravated by the fact that Mises’ apriorism cannot be interpreted as an artifact of his historical milieu. The two prevailing families of interpretation both treat Mises’ apriorism as anachronistic, albeit in divergent senses. I conclude that the primary and secondary literatures on Mises’ apriorism indicate its inconsistency and incoherence. We have no idea what justification Mises intended when he asserted the a priori nature of the fundamental propositions of economics. If this is right, then, whatever method(s) they follow, Austrian economists cannot (deliberately) follow Mises’ apriorism, because no one knows well enough how Mises meant to justify it to follow it purposefully.

Date: 2024-04-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hme and nep-hpe
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DOI: 10.31219/

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