Q&A: Curt: What Do You Think Of Austrian Arguments Regarding Apriorism Vs Empiricism?

(very very very important post)

Well we can clarify what these terms CAN mean, by stating them analytically and operationally:

Apriorism: Given parsimonious enough premises (assertions), one can form hypotheses via free association, abduction, induction, or loose deduction, and some of these hypotheses will be either impossible or extremely difficult to imagine can be false.

Argument-to-apriorism relies upon cognitive testing alone – and primarily non-contradiction. And we call this form of argument ‘justification’, meaning ‘here is why I think this’, and if we are lucky, ‘here is why this can’t be false’.

Empiricism: Given any hypothesis we construct by free association, by whatever means, and given the human tendency for error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, pseudoscience, and deceit, we must record our observations as some form of constant measurement (correspondence) such that we can use them to attempt to eliminate the human tendency for error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, pseudoscience and deceit.

How we use apriorism: for creating rules of thumb inexpensively and thereby eliminating the cost of expensive testing.

How we use empiricism: to collect information that exceeds our ability to perceive, and reduce it to constant measures (correspondence) so that we can both test our sense perception, and expand our sense perception, and thereby invent new hypothesis, theories, and law. So empiricism extends the perception of our imaginings and can be used to determine if they survive negative testing (criticism).

How we use praxeology: In matters of the social sciences, if we cannot explain empirically observed phenomenon as the consequence of a sequence of rational actions given the knowledge at the actors’ disposal, then we know it cannot be true. Whereas if we can construct a sequence of rational actions that explain the incentives we know it may be possible. True (perfectly parsimonious causality) and possible (what we call ‘proofs’) differ in that true statements provide us with causal identity, and proof provides us with possibility if not identity.

Unlike human actions, we cannot yet test the first principles of the physical universe other than by what we call determinism or the laws of thermodynamics in their various forms. This is why mathematics helps us. Because the universe is perfectly parsimonious and so is mathematics so while we may now know how to construct the universe from first principles like we do social phenomenon, we can still eliminate candidates that do not ‘balance’ (deterministically.)

So there is one possible epistemological method available to man: free association, hypothesis, theory, and law. But it is not the justification of (means of arriving at) our assertions that provide the truth content – it is the ability of these assertions to survive attempts at falsification. It is not apriorism that provides truth content, but the fact that however, we arrive at such a hypothesis, that we cannot refute it. It is not the empirical measurement of events and the hypotheses we draw from these measurements of events, but the fact that the hypothesis that we draw from these measurements of events survives attempts to falsify it. And this is in fact how the human mind(brain) works: search for a pattern, then see if it survives the search for anti-patterns.

The reasons ‘Austrians’ (that are not Austrians in the slightest – they’re Poles and Ukrainians and Jews from regions under Austro-Hungarian Rule, polish rule, Lithuanian rule, and Russian rule at some different points in history) are able to make their nonsense arguments is by creating straw men out of empiricism and positivism, by casting the ‘negative criticism’ of empiricism as a competitor to the ‘positive construction’ of justificationism. Yet justificationism does not provide us with truth propositions, only hypotheses, and it is our rational testing of these hypotheses that tells us they are truth candidates. And in some reductio cases, that they cannot be otherwise.

And the reason that even non-stupid people are fooled by this “bullshit” ‘polish-Ukrainian-Jewish’ pseudoscience, is because while they know how moral and legal actions are justified – they do it every day and instinctually, they do not know how science is actually practiced: as a warranty of due diligence. Or how math is actually practiced: as a warranty of possibility. Neither science or mathematics makes truth claims. Science makes claims of falsification (we cannot figure out how to make this false), and Mathematics makes claims of proof: (we can prove that this statement is possible to construct by this sequence of mathematical operations.)

Now we easily see where this pseudoscience came from: a long history of scriptural law that had to be taken as ‘right’ in order to preserve group cohesion (or more accurately, suppressing defections). Scripture, Law, and Morality are constructed on justificationary operations because scriptural, legal, and moral contracts are constructed on justificationary operations: “I can do this because it these rules say I can do this for these reasons”. Or the more primitive way-finding that humans use ” you make this occur by following this recipe”, “you arrive at this destination by following these directions”, or even more primitively “this sequence of actions got me fed last time, and so I will repeat it as a conservation of energy”. But truth is an expensive search process while justification is a cheap one. It is natural that we would do what we were familiar with, and what was cheap, and what preserved in-group loyalty (suppression of defection),

We can say the difference between justificationism/construction and criticism/survival simply as ‘justificationism (or apriorism) is an excuse for why I say something, and survival from criticism is evidence that I cannot find anything better to say’.

Mises (and his far less intellectually sophisticated yet far more prolific follower Rothbard) construct an elaborate straw man arguing against a framework that does not exist and is not practiced. They do not come from a scientific tradition but from a religio-legal tradition. Not from an empirical tradition but from a scriptural contractual tradition. not from a martial tradition where error is unforgiving and results in death but from a religio-contractual tradition where error presents opportunity for exploitation.

Apriorism provides a means of generalizing and hypothesizing. Praxeology and empiricism provide means of criticizing – and through that criticism generating new hypotheses from the new knowledge gained. The fact that we may discover useful theories by common sense does not differ whether we use measurements or not.

Science consists of a series of operations under which we guaranty that we have eliminated error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, pseudoscience, and deceit from our assertions. It provides us with a warranty of due diligence. And why is that so important? Because the only existentially possible ‘truth proposition’ is your promise that you have performed due diligence before making your testimony. All other ‘truth’ propositions are not, in fact, true, but only true by loose analogy for the purpose of attempting to attribute equal status to imaginings that have not been subject to the same due diligence as those that have been subject to due diligence.

So just as we call regulation and legislation ‘law’, to grant them the status of natural law (judge discovered law, that prohibits the imposition of costs upon the property-in-toto of others), we call many things ‘true’ that are only loosely categorically usable for similar purposes.

Whenever you make an assertion you are implicitly prefixing it with: ‘I promise that I have done due diligence against error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, pseudoscience, and deceit and that my testimony will as perfectly correspond to your perceptions, if you make the same observations’ (where observations is meant in the widest possible sense: experiences. We only make the explicit declaration of a premise or conclusion because the implicit is a normative habit and unstated. Why? Because this normative habit is the only possible condition under which I can make a truth claim without engaging in falsehood.

Truth consists in survival. Truthfulness consists in the warranty of due diligence. Honesty in a promise only of non-deception via any possible means – from under-reporting to suggestion, to obscurantism, to pseudoscientific dependence, to constructive deceptions (alternative narratives).

The tests of due diligence are:
– Categorical Consistency (Identity)
– Internal Consistency (logical)
– External Consistency (correspondence)
– Existential Consistency (existentially possible)
– Moral Consistency (accordance with Natural Law of non-imposition)
– Scope Consistency: (limits, parsimony, and full accounting)

It is hard for humans today to understand that Mises was very close when he stated that operational construction of economic phenomenon was possible, just operational construction was in mathematics. But he did not understand Popper and Hayek’s insights that the information content of axiomatic (mathematic) systems is always finite, deterministic, and closed, and the information content of correspondent (theoretical) systems is always infinite. Meaning that while we can claim mathematical deductions are true because we are always dealing with tautologies, we cannot claim deductions in reality (theoretical systems) are more than hypothesis.

Mises was close but he was wrong. Rothbard made it worse. Hoppe tried to correct it, and got us most of the way there. I’ve completed the research program by converting the insights of Jewish Pseudoscience, German Rationalism, Anglo Empiricism, into a fully scientific unified social science. In this sense I consider the anarchic program complete and that we have collectively *through our errors and corrections of each other* finally produced the social science that the thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries failed to do.

Science, philosophy, morality, economics, politics and law all can be stated using the same language of Propertarianism and tested for survival against Testimonialism (warranties of due diligence). And that we have constructed social science despite Mises, Rothbard’s, Hoppe’s errors – errors that every culture brings to the table and cannot escape bringing to the table. Finally. Even if we did it 100 years too late to save us from the Keynesian conversion of Marxism into anglo empirical pseudoscience.

That said, you basically have to throw all justificationism of mises, Rothbard and Hoppe out the window, and merely thank Mises for discovery of economic operationalism, Rothbard for expanding locke’s property into a nearly complete system of objective ethics, and Hoppe for ending our dependence upon – or faith in- the possibility of the non-parasitic monopoly construction of commons.

I am merely lucky enough to be born in the next generation and raised both in the absence of rationalism, with full dependence upon science, and where computer science and the concept of ‘computability’ or what in human action would refer to existential possibility.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

1) The term pseudoscience requires only that one claim something either scientific or true without applying the scientific method or demonstrating warranty of due diligence against error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, and deceit.

2) The Jewish enlightenment arrived last after the anglo, french, german, German, and they are just the most recent we are dealing with, and while we are in the process of defeating them, we are overlapping with the Muslim counter-enlightenment that uses the same strategies as the Jewish counter-enlightenment: authoritarianism in an effort to universalize their group strategy rather than be positioned as low status group meritocratically against more developed (correspondent) civilizations.

3) the anglo revolution ended with the Glorious Revolution. The American with the American Revolution. The French with the French Revolution and Napoleon’s defeat. The german with the unification and eventual world wars. The Jewish with the Bolshevik and then their transplantation to America. And is ending with the defeat of the Jewish pseudosciences (Boaz, Freud, Marx, Keynes) by anglo empiricism (cognitive science).

3) the Jewish enlightenment may have peaked with Bolshevism, but the consequential adaptive progression from Marxism-Bolshevism-Scientific socialism, Trotskyism-Conservatism-Neoconservatism, Critical theory – Postmodernism – Political Correctness, and Objectivism-Libertinism-Ancapism, is far more diverse an attack on western civilization than anglo egalitarian empiricism, American egalitarian legalism, french equalitarian moralism, and german rationalist duty.

The diversity and fervency of Jewish attacks on western civilization were made possible in most part by the coincidence between the Jewish enlightenment and the industrial revolution that provided the incentive, and the development of mass media and the increase in wealth that made the underclasses desirous of taking advantage of the opportunity for genetic expression. So many things assisted the Jewish enlightenment that were not available to the anglo, french, and especially german, to anywhere near the same degree.

While we are in the process of defeating Jewish pseudoscience, Once we defeat the Muslims and their militant mysticism, only then will the enlightenment be complete.

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