poniedziałek, 24 stycznia 2011

Apodictic Certainty of Praxeology

Lord Keynes (LK) praxeology critique
seems impressive, so many bibliography references, cool.

In the beginning, LK notes that Schumpeter and Hayek do not subscribe to Mises' praxeology. That is true, so what? Second, LK notes that some Austrians do not follow Mises' praxeology in its pure form or are critical. This is also true, so what? But my hopes for a sound praxeology critique were still sky high at this point.

Not so fast, LK states the obvious that praxeology cannot verified by empirical data. Then follow lengthy excerpts from Mises. OK, let's wait, getting impatient though. Suddenly, LK states that "there seems to be little point in the use of empirical data by Misesians". Completely unsupported claim. After all, Mises theory can still be used to interpret historical empirical data and to predict future empirical data. Obviously, Mises theory interpretations and predictions can only be qualitative rather than quantitative, but this limitation comes from the ordinality of value scales of real human beings. It's no use to complain about reality. My hopes start to dwindle. Now I suspect this is another typical leftist post that draws false conclusions from the obvious.

LK then states that "Austrian economics has been accused of intellectual stagnation for failing to take empirical research seriously". That actually reminds me both Brayan Caplan and Steve Kangas esseys discussed in my earlier posts this month (Why I am an Austrian Economist, Cranky Critiques of The Austrian School). Mainstream's economics catching up with Austrians over last few decades is often confused with intellectual development.

LK even gives examples! "For example, Leibniz’s monadology was an elaborate theory arrived at by aprioristic argument – but completely refuted by modern science." Yes, but Leibniz’s assumptions were not self-evident, so they were equivalent to religious dogma. And conclusions of any aprioristic argument based on dogma are also dogma, because you can logically derive both true and false from false. Basics...

Here again follow further lengthy excerpts from Mises that prove that "even Mises himself admitted that synthetic propositions as auxiliary hypotheses entered into his praxeological deductive reasoning. If such assumptions do not correspond to the “real conditions of the external world,” then his inferences are unsound and untrue." Very good, if auxiliary propositions are false. Basics...

Next LK lists "four main ways in which praxeology can be criticised". The first way, "questioning the truth of Mises’ axioms", is obvious. Unfortunatelly, LK states he does not "focus" on this one, that is, he ignores it completely. Hence, LK has nothing against Mises axioms. The second way, "showing flaws in the verbal chain of logic", is also obvious. Unfortunatelly, even though LK promises to "focus" on this one, there will be nothing about this later in his post.

It gets more interesting with the third way, "demonstrating unjustified subsidiary propositions or hidden assumptions in Mises’ reasoning that invalidate his conclusions". This is another obvious one. First LK cites Schuller accusing Mises of hidden assumptions. Nothing concrete. Then cites Blaug allegedly "giving specific examples of these hidden assumptions". But Blaug simply states his belief that negatively inclined demand curves allegedly need more assumptions than purposive choice. Even if true, what are those alleged hidden assumptions? Are they false? Nothing. Next LK states that W. Meyer has also shown "various unproven hypotheses about expectations and information in free market economies". Like what? For God's sake, LK, can't you just tell us??? Nothing. Finally, LK cites Mises that disutility of labor is a subsidiary assumption. So what? Is this assumption false? Nothing.

Then suddenly LK says "it is clear from all this that Mises’ praxeology does in fact have severe flaws in its verbal chain of logic and argumentation". What verbal chain of logic and argumentation flaws? Where? I only read some people stating there may potentially be some hidden assumptions, and Mises himself stating one subsidiary assumption explicitely. LK promised he would show Mises' assumptions that "invalidate his conclusions". Not only LK fails to do that, but there is nothing about verbal chain of logic. Except maybe for Appendix 3 explaining why premises must be true for the conclusions to be also true... Wow, groundbraking..

Finally, the fourth way praxeology can be criticized, according to LK, is "the question of how to choose between competing praxeological systems derived by a priori deduction from (allegedly) certain starting axioms". But it's simple. Check assumptions. Are they all self-evident? Check chain of logic. Is this correct?

In short, LK wastes 50% of his article on generic citations, 40% on repetitions of the obvious and 10% on false statemements out of the blue. In other words, even though LK says nothing about verbal chain of logic flaws in praxeology in particular, his article itself is chock full of such flaws.

2 komentarze:

  1. http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/01/mises-on-ricardian-law-of-association.html

  2. LK, as for your critique of Ricardo's assumptions (they have nothing to do with Mises' praxeology).

    First off, Ricardo stated them explicitely in his work, so they were never "hidden".

    Second, I can't see how Mises argument is allegedly "dependent" on Ricardo. After all, you yourself quote Mises saying Ricardo's assumptions do not hold.

    Third, even though Ricardo used factor immobility assumption (both of the conditions you specify) in his basic models, comparative advantage does not need them: