On Robert Nozick's 'on austrian methodology'

Inquiry 23 (4):397 – 444 (1980)
Abstract
Austrian economics - the school of thought associated with Carl Menger, Frederick von Weiser, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, and in this century, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Murray N. Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner - is based on a framework of methodological principles and assumptions much at variance with those of traditional or 'orthodox' economists. Robert Nozick, in his 'On Austrian Methodology', focuses attention on the most fundamental features of this framework, and subjects them to a thoroughgoing and scathing analysis. Singled out for detailed and critical review are: (1) the praxeological concepts of methodological individualism; (2) the claim that economics is an a priori science of human action; (3) the nature of preference and its relation to choice and action; and (4) the assumptions of time-preference theory. Although Nozick does not consider Austrian views on business cycles, market process analysis, the coordinative and informational effects of the price system, competition, and several other fundamental aspects of praxeology, his criticism strikes at the very root of the praxeological school. This paper attempts to refute each criticism made of the praxeological school by Nozick on a point-by-point basis. It thus follows the same pattern as the original paper, and scrutinizes in detail the arguments made by its author.
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    Walter Block (1977). Coase and Demsetz on Private Property Rights. Journal of Libertarian Studies 1 (2):111-115.

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