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The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Tu Ne Cede Malis

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School for 30 years

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Ludwig von Mises 
"The a priori categories are the endowment that enables man to attain all that is specifically human and distinguishes him from all other beings. Their analysis is analysis of the human condition, the role man plays in the universe. They are the force that enables man to create and to produce all that is called human civilization." 

As Mises's final book, the first edition (Van Nostrand) appeared in 1962. The Mises Institute would like to thank Bettina Bien Greaves, who gave her permission for this online edition. This edition is also available in PDf and hard copy. The text edition follows:

Foreword By Israel M. Kirzner


Some Preliminary Observations Concerning Praxeology
Instead of an Introduction


1. The Permanent Substratum of Epistemology (p. 1)
2. On Action (p. 2)
3. On Economics (p. 3)
4. The Starting Point of Praxeological Thinking (p. 4)
5. The Reality of the External World (p. 6)
6. Causality and Teleology (p. 6)
7. The Category of Action (p. 8)
8. The Sciences of Human Action (p. 9)


Chapter 1: The Human Mind


1. The Logical Structure of the Human Mind (p. 11)
2. A Hypothesis about the Origin of the A Priori Categories (p. 14)
3. The A Priori (p. 17)
4. The A Priori Representation of Reality (p. 19)
5. Induction (p. 21)
6. The Paradox of Probability Empiricism (p. 27)
7. Materialism (p. 28)
8. The Absurdity of Any Materialistic Philosophy (p. 30)


Chapter 2: The Activistic Basis of Knowledge


1. Man and Action (p. 34)
2. Finality (p. 36)
3. Valuation (p. 37)
4. The Chimera of Unified Science (p. 38)
5. The Two Branches of the Sciences of Human Action (p. 41)
6. The Logical Character of Praxeology (p. 44)
7. The Logical Character of History (p. 45)
8. The Thymological Method (p. 46)


Chapter 3: Necessity and Volition


1. The Infinite (p. 52)
2. The Ultimate Given (p. 53)
3. Statistics (p. 55)
4. Free Will (p. 57)
5. Inevitability (p. 59)


Chapter 4: Certainty and Uncertainty


1. The Problem of Quantitative Definiteness (p. 62)
2. Certain Knowledge (p. 63)
3. The Uncertainty of the Future (p. 64)
4. Quantification and Understanding in Acting and in History (p. 66)
5. The Precariousness of Forecasting in Human Affairs (p. 66)
6. Economic Prediction and the Trend Doctrine (p. 67)
7. Decision-Making (p. 69)
8. Confirmation and Refutability (p. 69)
9. The Examination of Praxeological Theorems (p. 70)


Chapter 5: On Some Popular Errors Concerning the Scope

and Method of Economics

1. The Research Fable (p. 73)
2. The Study of Motives (p. 74)
3. Theory and Practice (p. 77)
4. The Pitfalls of Hypostatization (p. 78)
5. On the Rejection of Methodological Individualism (p. 80)
6. The Approach of Macroeconomics (p. 83)
7. Reality and Play (p. 87)
8. Misinterpretation of the Climate of Opinion (p. 90)
9. The Belief in the Omnipotence of Thought (p. 91)
10. The Concept of a Perfect System of Government (p. 94)
11. The Behavioral Sciences (p. 101)

Chapter 6: Further Implications of the Neglect of Economic Thinking

1. The Zoological Approach to Human Problems (p. 104)
2. The Approach of the "Social Sciences" (p. 105)
3. The Approach of Economics (p. 105)
4. A Remark about Legal Terminology (p. 109)
5. The Sovereignty of the Consumers (p. 112)

Chapter 7: The Epistemological Roots of Monism

1. The Nonexperimental Character of Monism (p. 115)
2. The Historical Setting of Positivism (p. 118)
3. The Case of the Natural Sciences (p. 119)
4. The Case of the Sciences of Human Action (p. 120)
5. The Fallacies of Positivism (p. 122)

Chapter 8: Positivism and the Crisis of Western Civilization

1. The Misinterpretation of the Universe (p. 125)
2. The Misinterpretation of the Human Condition (p. 126)
3. The Cult of Science (p. 128)
4. The Epistemological Support of Totalitarianism (p. 129)
5. The Consequences (p. 132)

Glossary by Percy Greaves

Additional Books and Articles by Ludwig von Mises

Mises Bibliography

This Mises e-book was prepared by Richard Perry