What the Hell is Praxeology?

Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori; in other words, it is concerned with the conceptual analysis and logical implications of preference, choice, means-end schemes, and so forth.

The basic principles of praxeology were first discovered by the Greek philosophers, who used them as a foundation for a eudaimonistic ethics. This approach was further developed by the Scholastics, who extended praxeological analysis to the foundations of economics and social science as well.

In the late nineteenth century, the praxeological approach to economics and social science was rediscovered by Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian School. The term praxeology was first applied to this approach by the later Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (portrait at left). Along with his students (including Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard), Mises employed praxeological principles to show that much existing economic and social theory was conceptually incoherent.

Independently of Mises, analytic philosophers in the ordinary language tradition – like Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, and Elizabeth Anscombe – were also making contributions to praxeological theory, though they did not use that term.

Praxeology.net is dedicated to the integration of the various praxeological insights of Greek and Scholastic philosophy, Austrian economics, and the ordinary language tradition.

Some online sources on praxeology:

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