Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution

Author: Ludwig von Mise
Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute
Keywords: economic, evolution, social, interpretation, history, theory
Number of Pages: 383
Published: 2007-08-22
ISBN-10: 1933550198
ISBN-13: 9781933550190

Book Description:

New hardcover edition, introduction by Murray N. Rothbard

Like Hayek, Mises moved beyond economics in his later years to address questions regarding the foundation of all social science. But unlike Hayek’s attempts, Mises’s writings on these matters have received less attention than they deserve. Theory and History, writes Rothbard in his introduction, "remains by far the most neglected masterwork of Mises.

Here Mises defends his all-important idea of metholodogical duelism: one approach to the hard sciences and another for the social sciences. He defends the epistemological status of economic proposition. He has his most extended analysis of those who want to claim that there is more than one logical structure by which we think about reality. He grabbles with the problem of determinism and free will. And presents philosophy of history and historical research. Overall, this is a tremendously lucid defense of the fundamental Misesian approach to social philosophy.

 

"It is Mises’s great methodological work, explaining the basis of his approach to economics, and providing scintillating critiques of such fallacious alternatives as historicism, scientism, and Marxian dialectical materialism . . . . Austrian economics will never enjoy a genuine renaissance until economists read and absorb the vital lessons of this unfortunately neglected work."

Theory and History should be required for any student of 20th century ideas.

 

Contents

PREFACE BY MURRAY N. ROTHBARD xi

INTRODUCTION

1. Methodological Dualism 1

2. Economics and Metaphysics 3

3. Regularity and Prediction 4

4. The Concept of the Laws of Nature 5

5. The Limitations of Human Knowledge 8

6. Regularity and Choosing 9

7. Means and Ends 12

PART ONE

VALUE

CHAPTER 1. JUDGMENTS OF VALUE

1. Judgments of Value and Propositions of Existence ... .19

2. Valuation and Action 20

3. The Subjectivity of Valuation 22

4. The Logical and Syntactical Structure

of Judgments of Value 23

CHAPTER 2. KNOWLEDGE AND VALUE

1. The Bias Doctrine 26

2. Common Weal versus Special Interests 28

3. Economics and Value 32

4. Bias and Intolerance 34

CHAPTER 3. THE QUEST FOR ABSOLUTE VALUES

1. The Issue 35

2. Conflicts with Society 37vi CONTENTS

3. A Remark on the Alleged Medieval Unanimity 42

4. The Idea of Natural Law 44

5. Revelation 49

6. Atheistic Intuition 50

7. The Idea of Justice 51

8. The Utilitarian Doctrine Restated 55

9. On Aesthetic Values 61

10. The Historical Significance of the Quest for

Absolute Values 63

CHAPTER 4. THE NEGATION OF VALUATION

PART TWO

DETERMINISM AND MATERIALISM

CHAPTER 5. DETERMINISM AND ITS CRITICS

1. Determinism 73

2. The Negation of Ideological Factors 75

3. The Free-Will Controversy 76

4. Foreordination and Fatalism 78

5. Determinism and Penology 82

6. Determinism and Statistics 84

7. The Autonomy of the Sciences of Human Action 92

CHAPTER 6. MATERIALISM

1. Two Varieties of Materialism 94

2. The Secretion Analogy 97

3. The Political Implications of Materialism 99

CHAPTER 7. DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM

1. Dialectics and Marxism 102

2. The Material Productive Forces 106CONTENTS vii

3. The Class Struggle 112

4. The Ideological Impregnation of Thought 122

5. The Conflict of Ideologies 130

6. Ideas and Interests 133

7. The Class Interests of the Bourgeoisie 142

8. The Critics of Marxism 147

9. Marxian Materialism and Socialism 155

CHAPTER 8. PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY

1. The Theme of History 159

2. The Theme of the Philosophy of History 162

3. The Difference between the Point of View of History

and That of Philosophy of History 166

4. Philosophy of History and the Idea of God 171

5. Activistic Determinism and Fatalistic Determinism . . .177

PART THREE

EPISTEMOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF HISTORY

CHAPTER 9. THE CONCEPT OF HISTORICAL INDIVIDUALITY

1. The Ultimate Given of History 183

2. The Role of the Individual in History 184

3. The Chimera of the Group Mind 188

4. Planning History 195

CHAPTER 10. HISTORICISM

1. The Meaning of Historicism 198

2. The Rejection of Economics 205

3. The Quest for Laws of Historical Change 210

4. Historicist Relativism 214

5. Dissolving History 219viii CONTENTS

6. Undoing History 227

7. Undoing Economic History 234

CHAPTER 11. THE CHALLENGE OF SCIENTISM

1. Positivism and Behaviorism 240

2. The Collectivist Dogma 250

3. The Concept of the Social Sciences 256

4. The Nature of Mass Phenomena 259

CHAPTER 12. PSYCHOLOGY AND THYMOLOGY

1. Naturalistic Psychology and Thymology 264

2. Thymology and Praxeology 271

3. Thymology as a Historical Discipline 272

4. History and Fiction 274

5. Rationalization 280

6. Introspection 283

CHAPTER 13. MEANING AND USE OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY

1. The Why of History 285

2. The Historical Situation 286

3. History of the Remote Past 289

4. Falsifying History 291

5. History and Humanism 293

6. History and the Rise of Aggressive Nationalism 296

7. History and Judgments of Value 298

CHAPTER 14. THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL FEATURES OF HISTORY

1. Prediction in the Natural Sciences 303

2. History and Prediction 305

3. The Specific Understanding of History 309

4. Thymological Experience 312

5. Real Types and Ideal Types 315


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