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 methodological dualism: 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 grapples 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.
There is often talk of the difficulty in reading Mises (and Hayek). However, I don't think this could be said for Theory and History. Though one should keep a dictionary handy, for Mises had an impressive vocabulary.
Definitely one of Mises's underrated works (as Rothbard points out in the preface). In the book, Mises applies the most rigorous analysis to key doctrines, especially Marx's materialism. He leaves no stone unturned when exposing the fallaciousness of these doctrines. He refutes the notion of "bias" when it comes to constructing and deconstructing doctrines. Whatever the motivations of the authors are ─ whether conscious or subconscious ─ the arguments put forward are either valid or invalid, sound or unsound. Our task is to subject all the arguments put forward to a thorough rational examination.
This is a great book, covering many topics. This demonstrates what can be accomplished with exceptionally sound reasoning. Highly recommended!
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a paper back copy of this excellent composition. Mises gives(in great detail) superb analytical tools for addressing a wide range of topics. What makes this book worth every penny is its smooth and intuitive structure that provides an issue (with clarifications and exapmles) followed by a rigorous breakdown that neatly recaps for a wrap-up.
Moreover, what Mises demonstrates is that simplistic axioms and logic can clarify - and in some cases totally obliterate - obfuscating doctrines. Great read, quick pace, go buy it.
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