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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10417/what-is-the-proper-way-to-study-man/

What Is the Proper Way to Study Man?

August 7, 2009 by

If the proper study of mankind is man, the question immediately arises: what is the proper way to study man? In recent generations, the enormous prestige gained by physics in advancing our knowledge of the material world has led to the uncritical transfer of the methods appropriate in the natural sciences to the study of actions of men. These three books illuminate different aspects of the important truth that the differences between the nature of human action and the behavior of unmotivated physical objects require different methodologies of scientific study. FULL ARTICLE


Jim Fedako August 7, 2009 at 11:59 am

Is there anyway that Probability, Statistics, and Truth can be added to the Mises library or store?

buz August 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm

There is no such thing “the mathematical approach” to economics any more than there is “the words approach”. People who’ve written about economics in words only have used a wide variety of approaches and assumptions. Some of them I believe are much more realistic than others. The same is true of the many diverse people who’ve written about economics using concepts from one or more of the many very different types of mathematics. Only if one knows the math, has read very carefully which mathematical ideas are being used, and how they are being used, do they know what is being said. Only then do they know what the economic or human behavioral assumptions are. Only then do they know what is the approach taken to economics and human behavior. There is no number of philosophy or meta-economics articles that will change this fact. I have never seen any economics work, no matter how much math it used, that modeled human behavior in a way that was the same as the way motion is modeled in Newtonian mechanics. Even when the same equations and concepts are used, and it looks the same at first glance, little things about how the terms are being defined can make a huge difference.

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