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Social Contract, Natural Law and Spontaneous Evolution: An Austrian Perspective

Social Contract, Natural Law and Spontaneous Evolution: An Austrian Perspective Marni Vihanto' 1. Introduction All propositions of economics, like those of other social sciences, are either explicitly or implicitly based upon some overall conception or theory of society. If an economist never explicates the general social theory that necessarily underlies his more specific economic reasoning, he may unwittingly advance statements that are inconsistent or even systematically biased. For this reason, every economist should at least occasionally think about the deeper foundation of his analysis and pursue a philosophical reflection. The exponents of the Austrian school of economics have examined the philosophy of social sciences and its implications for practical economic theory more than economists on average. No universally accepted or canonical definition of Austrian economic theory is for the time being available, but in practice it is seldom difficult to distinguish Austrian reasoning from more conventional lines of argument. All the economists labelled as "Austrian" in this paper emphasize the primacy of individual intentions and the subjectivity of economic categories, and their views on many central issues of economic theory are more or less uniformly divergent from those of mainstream economists. Despite their common ground, Austrian economists do not constitute a monolithic group, and they have some fundamental http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines de Gruyter

Social Contract, Natural Law and Spontaneous Evolution: An Austrian Perspective

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by the
ISSN
2194-5799
eISSN
2153-1552
DOI
10.1515/jeeh-1993-0104
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Marni Vihanto' 1. Introduction All propositions of economics, like those of other social sciences, are either explicitly or implicitly based upon some overall conception or theory of society. If an economist never explicates the general social theory that necessarily underlies his more specific economic reasoning, he may unwittingly advance statements that are inconsistent or even systematically biased. For this reason, every economist should at least occasionally think about the deeper foundation of his analysis and pursue a philosophical reflection. The exponents of the Austrian school of economics have examined the philosophy of social sciences and its implications for practical economic theory more than economists on average. No universally accepted or canonical definition of Austrian economic theory is for the time being available, but in practice it is seldom difficult to distinguish Austrian reasoning from more conventional lines of argument. All the economists labelled as "Austrian" in this paper emphasize the primacy of individual intentions and the subjectivity of economic categories, and their views on many central issues of economic theory are more or less uniformly divergent from those of mainstream economists. Despite their common ground, Austrian economists do not constitute a monolithic group, and they have some fundamental

Journal

Journal des Économistes et des Études Humainesde Gruyter

Published: Mar 1, 1993

References