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The study of purposeful human action

Praxeology or praxiology (from Ancient Greek πρᾶξις praxis, meaning 'deed, action', and λογία (logia), meaning 'study of') is the study of human action, based on the notion that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to reflexive behavior like sneezing and unintentional behavior. French social philosopher Alfred Espinas gave the term its modern meaning, and its study was developed independently by two principal groups: the Austrian school created by Ludwig von Mises and the Polish school created by Tadeusz Kotarbiński.

  • Economics - Study of the means that human beings use to satisfy their individually desired ends


Glossary: Praxeology, by Percy L. Greaves Jr., Mises Made Easier, 1974
Definition of praxeology, based on Mises' Human Action (1966), Epistemological Problems of Economics (1981) and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method (1978)
(from the Greek, Praxis, action, habit or practice; logia, doctrine, theory or science). The science or general theory of (conscious or purposeful) human action. Mises defines action as 'the manifestation of a man's will.' Accordingly, he considers the use of the adjectives 'conscious or purposeful' to be redundant. Praxeology is a manifestation of the human mind and deals with the actions open to men for the attainment of their chosen ends. Praxeology starts from the a priori category of action and then develops the full implications of such action. Praxeology aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience, but are antecedent to any comprehension of historical facts.


Carl Menger: The Founder of the Austrian School, by Joseph Salerno
Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing his life and work and delving into various aspects of Austrian economic theory as presented by Menger
Menger recognized that at the center ... of economic theory in general is human action-and human action alone. As Menger epigrammatically put it in preliminary notes ...: "Man himself is the beginning and the end of every economy" and "Our science is the theory of a human being's ability to deal with his wants." While the centrality of human want satisfaction had been affirmed by earlier writers in the subjective-value tradition, Menger alone was successful in forging a method of economic theorizing—it was later to be dubbed "praxeology" by Ludwig von Mises—that was consistent with this insight.
Ludwig von Mises and the Justification of the Liberal Order, by William Baumgarth, The Economics of Ludwig von Mises, 15 Nov 1974
Critically examines various Mises' writings on liberalism, democracy, the wisdom of the masses, special-interest politics, equal treatment under the law, anarchism, self-determination and of course economics
Mises described how his understanding of economics was much broader than that of the older nineteenth-century writers because it was based on the notion of man as a "choosing" rather than a "selfish" agent ... To be a human being, Mises argued, is to have a will, and having a will implies the ability to chose between alternative courses of action. If there is a science dedicated to the science of choice, that science is the master science of which economics is but one part. Mises named "praxeology" the "science of choice" and declared the science of economics to be but one part of "praxeology."
On Autobiography, by Walter Block, 4 Dec 2002
Autobiographical, recounts how Block met Ayn Rand and later Murray Rothbard and how he progressed from libertarian minarchism to anarcho-capitalism; and pleads other libertarians to write "how they first were introduced to this philosophy"
But with regard to praxeology, this was not at all the case. For one thing, my philosophical training, such as it was, was centered on logical positivism. The idea that truth could be attained in the absence of empirical evidence, seemingly in the face of empirical evidence, was anathema to me. For another, I had had an intellectual investment of several years duration, now, in mainstream economics ... To embrace Austrianism would be to reject all that I had learned in the past half-decade and more. Further, there were praxeologists who were not anarcho-capitalists.


Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block, by Walter Block, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1999
Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, the legality of blackmail and barriers to Austrians in academia
AEN: You have no difficulty separating the value-freedom of praxeology and value-driven political conclusions?
Block: The separation is conceptual but essential. It underscores the universality and implacability of the economic laws derived from the praxeological method ... Praxeology provides an honest path to value-freedom in economic theory ... For Austrians, the empirical work illustrates the theory, but it doesn't test it. No mere empirical episode can overturn a rock-solid theory, because all historical episodes ... must be interpreted by some standard [that is] logically derived from certain axioms about action and the world.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Praxeology" as of 7 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.