Following Dr. Ransom’s most recent post, just a few lines in defense of Dr. Hülsmann’s choice of providing us with an extensive discussion of major and, to be sure, quite complicated problems of theory that seem to have divided even eminent economists of the Austrian school.Without any doubt, like Dr. Ransom, I, too, would have liked having a whole book written on those controversies, instead of sketchy expeditions into this or that set of problems and propositions. But even sketchy treatment is better than none. And Dr. Hülsmann has given enough excellent hints and material to anyone genuinely interested in these matters to look up and examine his claims for himself. I, for one, have found his account very stimulating, not to mention his very impressive scholarship. We can and should argue about the exact meaning of psychology, utility etc. because this is the only way to advance our knowledge. Every piece of work that brings some fresh insights is worthy of our attention, even if presented in a sketchy and highly compressed manner. Moreover, it is definitely possibly and important to “put folks into different boxesâ€ so as to have the means to distinguish who stands for what ideas, instead of having undifferentiated blur where no ideas, for better or worse, can be assigned to their originators and/or practioners.
We also must not forget that Mises’s biography is primarily about his theoretical contributions in the context of the then prevailing intellectual environment. It is therefore only proper to provide a sense of the intellectual atmosphere, with enough room for the biographer to sensitize and stimulate the reader by means of interpretations and even speculations about key issues.