LOGIC, PRAXEOLOGY AND SCIENCE: DEPENDENCY AND DEMARCATION. REFORMING LIBERTARIANISM BY INCORPORATING SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT RATHER THAN RELYING ON THE PURELY RATIONAL
Those three terms, Logic, Praxeology, and Science describe a spectrum. But what is the point of demarcation between each?
Which of these domains is capable of testing which category of problems, and what constraints does any domain place upon the others, given that each is open to error, and requires the other to test its hypotheses.
I’ve been working on this problem now for quite some time, and have almost got my arms around how to talk about it praxeologically: as observable human action: and therefore a test of possibility, rational choice and incentives.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER
I have, I think, reformed the concepts of property and morality, but I can’t reform the system of thought that we call libertarian political theory without reforming the distinction between logic (unobservable, internally testable), praxeology (observable and subjectively testable), and science (unobservable, and objectively & externally testable.) That work may have been done somewhere but I haven’t found it yet. And I have a very hard time slogging my way through metaphysical assumptions and highly loaded vocabulary of both logicians on one end and rationalists on the other.
Current libertarian (Rothbardian) ethics rely upon very weak rational arguments. I’ve tried to systematically falsify each of them – there are only a handful really. And I think I have been successful.
Current progressive (Rawlsian) ethics rely upon very weak rational arguments. I think that I can falsify that argument without much difficulty. Veil of ignorance being a logical fallacy so to speak.
Conservatives don’t have an argument, so I have to explain their implied argument in libertarian terminology.
What I find most interesting, from our perspective, as libertarians, is that we acknowledge that the common law is an organic process, and it functions because it must be digestible and applicable by ordinary people in juries. We understand that the english built an empirical society, not a rational one. And that the French took the british concept of liberty and made it into a rational one. Then the germans have tried, and continue to, make it a spiritual one.
In other words, Rothbard’s arguments, and one of hoppe’s (his only weak one) rely on rationalism rather than empiricism. And while praxeology may be a test, and while reason may be a test, the purpose of empirical analysis is to extend our senses, and reduce what we cannot sense to analogies that we can perceive by proxy.
Now, prior generations had to suffer with the limited tool of Rational argument, because they didn’t have data, and the socialistic system of central control produces data on short periodicity, and can justify itself with that data. While the libertarian and conservative argument is that the externalities produced outweigh the short term benefits. But we have to WAIT for our data, and therefore socialistic arguments gather momentum in and civic behavior alters while we wait.
Thankfully we have data now. Our rational arguments were correct. The conservative arguments look like they are correct too. The only progressive argument we are unsure about at present is whether or not fiat money itself can function in a positive fashion, under some as yet undefined circumstance. (We argue that it can’t, out of hand, on rational grounds, but I’m not sure we can prove that there aren’t holes in our reason sufficient to undermine our position.)
We are lucky. Time has passed. We’ve learned more than our preceding generations had available to learn. And as such we can debate and restate libertarian theory using scientific rather than rational arguments.
And that is what I’m trying to do.