Von Mises' apriorism and austrian economics: From Menger to Mises

There is no doubt that Carl Menger and Ludwig von Mises can be considered as two of the most representative and influential members of the Austrian school of economics. However, given the fact that this school is well known for being a methodological school, it might be surprizing to note how far these two prominent economists apparently stand on methodological questions. While Menger frequently insisted that "no essential differences between the ethical and the natural sciences exists, but at most only one of degree"1, Mises emphasizes the alleged gulf between social and natural sciences to the point of adopting what he called a "methodological dualism". As a consequence of this dualism, Mises did not hesitate when it comes to the analysis of human action to refer to laws "derived a priori" that "permit of no exception" because they belong to "an aprioristic and universally valid theory" 2. Such an uncompromising apriorism was so contrary to the empiricist mood of..
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