Synthese 198 (Suppl 14):3359-3390 (2019)

Current debates between behavioural and orthodox economists indicate that the role and epistemological status of first principles is a particularly pressing problem in economics. As an alleged paragon of extreme apriorism, the methodology of Austrian economics in Mises’ tradition is often dismissed as untenable in the light of modern philosophy. In particular, the defence of the so-called fundamental axiom of praxeology—“Man acts.”—by means of pure intuition is almost unanimously rejected. However, in recently resurfacing debates, the extremeness of Mises’ epistemological position has been called into question. Rather than directly engaging in these exegetical discussions, this paper aims to substantiate the possibility and plausibility of conventionalist defences of praxeology per se. The proposed shift includes settling for an analytic fundamental axiom and acknowledging the prima facie tenability of other research programs than praxeology. Since conventionalist praxeology is only moderately aprioristic, mainstream economists and philosophers might be more likely to engage in fruitful discussions with those Austrian scholars who elaborate pragmatic arguments for praxeology instead of invoking pure intuition.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02150-8
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Citations of this work BETA

Otto Neurath and Ludwig von Mises.Alexander Linsbichler - 2021 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 14 (2).
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