December, 2004

The Subjectivist Methodology of Austrian Economics and Dewey's Theory of Inquiry

  • Virgil Storr

    Vice President, Academic & Student Programs
  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Don Lavoie

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The aim of this paper is to elaborate on the Austrian school’s methodological orientation, which they named “subjectivism,” in a way that shows its affinity with the main thrust of John Dewey’s notion of the logic of inquiry. It is trying to make two distinct but related points. First, it is trying to clarify what “subjectivism,” the central methodological principle of Austrian economics, really means, or at least what we think it should mean. It can be understood as a challenge to the “objectivistic” attitude of mainstream economics, the attitude that the Austrians argue is what is keeping economics too disconnected with the everyday world. Second, the paper is trying to show that the confusions that have arisen around the Austrians’ own method might be cleared up if we were to draw from Dewey’s work.

Read the full article at SSRN.com.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Storr, Virgil Henry, Lavoie, Don and Boettke, Peter J., The Subjectivist Methodology of Austrian Economics and Dewey's Theory of Inquiry (2004). PRAGMATISM AND ECONOMIC METHODOLOGY, Elias Khalil, ed., pp. 327-356, Dewey, London: Routledge, 2004.