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Theory and History Hardcover

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Mises moved beyond economics in his later years to address questions regarding the foundation of all social science.
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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.


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(based on 2 reviews)

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by Brent
on 10/24/2014
One of Mises's most underrated works!
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!
by Aems
on 8/6/2010
Excellent Work
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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This volume includes:

  • Preface by Murray N. Rothbard
  • Introduction
    • 1. Methodological Dualism
    • 2. Economics and Metaphysics
    • 3. Regularity and Prediction
    • 4. The Concept of the Laws of Nature
    • 5. The Limitations of Human Knowledge
    • 6. Regularity and Choosing
    • 7. Means and Ends

  • Part One: Value
    • Chapter 1. Judgements of Value
      • 1. Judgments of Value and Propositions of Existence
      • 2. Valuation and Action
      • 3. The Subjectivity of Valuation
      • 4. The Logical and Syntactical Structure of Judgments of Value
    • Chapter 2. Knowledge and Value
      • 1. The Bias Doctrine
      • 2. Common Weal versus Special Interests
      • 3. Economics and Value
      • 4. Bias and Intolerance
    • Chapter 3. The Quest for Absolute Values
      • 1. The Issue
      • 2. Conflicts with Society
      • 3. A Remark on the Alleged Medieval Unanimity
      • 4. The Idea of Natural Law
      • 5. Revelation
      • 6. Atheistic Intuition
      • 7. The Idea of Justice
      • 8. The Utilitarian Doctrine Restated
      • 9. On Aesthetic Values
      • 10. The Historical Significance of the Quest for Absolute Values
    • Chapter 4. The Negation of Valuation

  • Part Two: Determinism and Materialism
    • Chapter 5. Determinism and Its Critics
      • 1. Determinism
      • 2. The Negation of Ideological Factors
      • 3. The Free-Will Controversy
      • 4. Foreordination and Fatalism
      • 5. Determinism and Penology
      • 6. Determinism and Statistics
      • 7. The Autonomy of the Sciences of Human Action
    • Chapter 6. Materialism
      • 1. Two Varieties of Materialism
      • 2. The Secretion Analogy
      • 3. The Political Implications of Materialism
    • Chapter 7. Dialectical Materialism
      • 1. Dialectics and Marxism
      • 2. The Material Productive Forces
      • 3. The Class Struggle
      • 4. The Ideological Impregnation of Thought
      • 5. The Conflict of Ideologies
      • 6. Ideas and Interests
      • 7. The Class Interests of the Bourgeosie
      • 8. The Critics of Marxism
      • 9. Marxian Materialism and Socialism
    • Chapter 8. Philosophy of History
      • 1. The Theme of History
      • 2. The Theme of the Philosophy of History
      • 3. The Difference between the Point of View of History and That of Philosophy of History
      • 4. Philosophy of History and the Idea of God
      • 5. Activistic Determinism and Fatalistic Determinism

  • Part Three: Epistemological Problems of History
    • Chapter 9. The Concept of Historical Individuality
      • 1. The Ultimate Given of History
      • 2. The Role of the Individual in History
      • 3. The Chimera of the Group Mind
      • 4. Planning History
    • Chapter 10. Historicism
      • 1. The Meaning of Historicism
      • 2. The Rejection of Economics
      • 3. The Quest for Laws of Historical Change
      • 4. Historicist Relativism
      • 5. Dissolving History
      • 6. Undoing History
      • 7. Undoing Economic History
    • Chapter 11. The Challenge of Scientism
      • 1. Positivism and Behaviorism
      • 2. The Collectivist Dogma
      • 3. The Concept of the Social Sciences
      • 4. The Nature of Mass Phenomena
    • Chapter 12. Psychology and Thymology
      • 1. Naturalistic Psychology and Thymology
      • 2. Thymology and Praxeology
      • 3. Thymology as a Historical Discipline
      • 4. History and Fiction
      • 5. Rationalization
      • 6. Introspection
    • Chapter 13. Meaning and Use of the Study of History
      • 1. The Why of History
      • 2. The Historical Situation
      • 3. History of the Remote Past
      • 4. Falsifying History
      • 5. History and Humanism
      • 6. History and the Rise of Aggressive Nationalism
      • 7. History and Judgements of Value
    • Chapter 14. The Epistemological Features of History
      • 1. Prediction in the Natural Sciences
      • 2. History and Prediction
      • 3. The Specific Understanding of History
      • 4. Thymological Experience
      • 5. Real Types and Idea Types

  • Part Four: The Course of History
    • Chapter 15. Philosophical Interpretations of History
      • 1. Philosophies of History and Philosophical Interpretations of History
      • 2. Environmentalism
      • 3. The Egalitarians' Interpretation of History
      • 4. The Racial Interpretation of History
      • 5. The Secularism of Western Civilization
      • 6. The Rejection of Capitalism by Antisecularism
    • Chapter 16. Present-Day Trends and the Future
      • 1. The Reversal of the Trend toward Freedom
      • 2. The Rise of the Ideology of Equality in Wealth and Income
      • 3. The Chimera of a Perfect State of Mankind
      • 4. The Alleged Unbroken Trend toward Progress
      • 5. The Suppression of "Economic" Freedom
      • 6. The Uncertainty of the Future

ISBN 9781933550190
eISBN 9781610163255
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2007
Binding HC
Page Length 384

Mises moved beyond economics in his later years to address questions regarding the foundation of all social science.
Price: $5.00