Talk:Ludwig von Mises

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This economists related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Appallingly poorly researched article[edit]

This article is written by contrarians who have not bothered actually taking the time to understand Mises or his theories.

Do Geometrists "completely reject reality and the scientific method" because they believe that geometry is a rational science that can be applied a priori? Of course they don't! Mises claims are not anti-positivist at all and they CAN be falsified using logic if faults in his logic can be found. Just like all arguments in philosophy you need to critique them for validity.

Simply because the Dunning-Kruger effect folks who wrote this article are not profound enough people to understand what they criticise. The tone of this piece is pathetic and snarky and the writers look like the dog who has caught the car to anyone who knows what they are talking about. The fact that such a tone would be adopted on a website that holds itself as the bastion of rationality is ridiculous, where are the standards here?


Why, exactly? Can someone please elaborate? I am not doubting, I am merely curious--User:Brxbrx/sig 02:04, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Uh, just read the definition of praxeology. He flatly rejects the scientific method. That chapter is one of the better (as in more amusing) parts of the book, where he basically says, "Psychology? Anthropology? Pfft, I don't need that shit! Real science is a priori!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:08, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Nebuchadnezzar also believes that mathematics is a pseudoscience, as somehow he's arrived at the conclusion that deduction itself is unscientific. The ignorance is understandable; someone who doesn't understand that mathematics is itself derived from a priori reasoning might believe that the only way of understanding the universe is empiricism/induction and that nasty deduction has no place in human understanding. Blame the universities for his lack of education. The short Austrian position is that the positivist method is inappropriate for studying economics for the same reasons that it would be inappropriate for studying history or 16th-century German poetry: statistics and induction are difficult or impossible to use in these disciplines, it doesn't lead to meaningful truths, and, most damning, it doesn't provide accurate predictions. The failure of positivist economics to understand or predict booms & busts and its impenetrability to Popper's falsificationism should have tipped you off that positivist economics is a self-evident pseudoscience, as it actually adopts the statistical approach of the natural sciences even though it can't utilize the experimental method for obvious reasons (try asking an economist for the results of his last lab experiment and where he finds the subjects for his control and experimental groups). Mises explicitly rejects that pseudoscientific methodology as useless and misleading, whereas the deductive approach to human action provides us with general truths about how and why people act; it explains, for instance, why widespread ownership of firearms would lead to less violent crime, as criminals are rational actors (in the Misesian sense of rational, this means that they act toward a particular self-interested end) who respond to incentives and disincentives. The moral of the Austrian story of economics is that if you like numbers, go into the natural sciences where experimentation takes place and where your career won't hinge on your buying into a pseudoscience that claims to be scientific but can't even employ the experimental methodology. If you want to study what human action entails and how wealth grows, use an appropriate set of tools, namely deduction and a priorism. (talk) 00:05, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I read it again. He's saying if something feels right, fuck the facts? Is that correct?--User:Brxbrx/sig 02:11, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Essentially. His reasoning is that the natural sciences produce easily predictable and replicatable results (e.g., a copper wire will conduct electricity whether you're in the US or China). However, the social sciences can't do this and so are merely "historical," i.e., they can only tell us what happened in the past and thus have no predictive value. Thus, Mises sets out on his grand adventure to concoct a grand economic theory not bound by culture or time by deriving it from the action axiom because it must be true as it is IRREFUTABLE! One (of the very many) blindingly obvious problems is that there are numerous historical sciences that are a subset of the natural sciences (e.g., archaeology, cosmology, geology) and that natural scientists work with many models that have large degrees of uncertainty (e.g., biological and medical models). So if Mises is right, we should throw out all these sciences and just pull stuff out of our asses use a priori methodology instead. This is what leads me to believe that the Austrians were largely innumerate cranks who didn't want to bother to learn how to do stats or any of that science-y stuff (it's scientism!!). Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:29, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Is there any particular praxeological law that you can point to as being false? Is there a plausible competing theory to the idea that humans employ means to attain ends, or that from that truth, one can deduce the rest of the principles contained in Austrian economic theory?
What exactly is wrong with a priori truths? You have to start somewhere. And deductive proofs tend to be stronger than inductive. He has a point that "it is impossible to abstract any causal relations from the study of complex phenomena" and "complex phenomena can neither prove nor disprove any theorem and therefore cannot bear witness against any statement of a theory". There are so many variables involved that history inevitably ends up being subject to interpretation. Tisane (talk) 16:59, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Bullshit detector going haywire[edit]

Okay, so the guy is jewish, is anti-state and supports capitalism, fled Europe for New York with the rise of Hitler's Germany, supported an austrian politician who was anti-Hitler, and he's a fascist because he said they might serve as a bulwark against communists? Fuck you, rationalwiki. By that logic, Victor Davis Hanson is a communist because he praised the valor of the Russian army. Couldn't pull a tooth out of a dead horse with that one. Burkean (talk) 17:28, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

That's the typical complaint of the terminally intellectually lazy who want to discredit Mises without ever addressing him. Never mind that he wrote those words in a book called Liberalism (as in classical liberalism, which is an ideological enemy to both fascism and communism) and that he condemns fascism as harmful in the quote itself. The person who wrote this section might also be surprised to learn that his advocacy of social democracy, progressivism, or whatever other authoritarian political philosophy he subscribes to is a not-so-distant scion of the fascist collectivism that swept the world in the first half of the 20th century. There's a reason why progressives love FDR, and there's a reason why FDR thought Mussolini was a swell guy with great policies. (talk) 00:04, 7 July 2014 (UTC).
Mises wrote A LOT explicitly criticising fascism. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

To be fair with Mises[edit]

@Bongolian I don't think the "para-fascists" category is appropriated here. On the very quoted paragraph, Mises criticizes fascism, and on the (terrible) book of Liberalism, which was banned in Europe by the Nazis, he also claims, among other things, that "Repression by brute force is always a confession of the inability to make use of the better weapons of the intellect—better because they alone give promise of final success. This is the fundamental error from which Fascism suffers and which will ultimately cause its downfall." Sure, he was wrong when he saw fascism as a "necessary evil", but that was a popular opinion back then, and I don't think it's enough to make him a fascist, just like the American presidents aren't fascists for supporting anticommunist millitary dictatorships around the world. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 20:28, 13 March 2023 (UTC)

OK, I'll delete it. Bongolian (talk) 20:44, 13 March 2023 (UTC)