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Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Like Hayek, Mises moved beyond economics in his later years to address questions regarding the foundation of all social science. But unlike Hayek's attempts, Mises's writings on these matters have received less attention than they deserve.

Theory and History should be required for any student of 20th century ideas.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 28th 1985 by Ludwig von Mises Institute (first published 1957)
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  198 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best works in Praxeology and Philosophy of History.

"Behaviorism proposes to study human behavior according
to the methods developed by animal and infant psychology. It
seeks to investigate reflexes and instincts, automatisms and
unconscious reactions. But it has told us nothing about the
reflexes that have built cathedrals, railroads, and fortresses, the
instincts that have produced philosophies, poems, and legal
systems, the automatisms that have resulted in the growth and
decline of empire
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio book over the past month. I loved this book because it satisfied a desire I have had for a while - to learn about important philosophies and their interpretations of history and economics. I give some highlights below in my own words, though they are not connected as well as they are in the book. The material and its presentation are just my cup of tea and I highly recommmend this book to anyone interested in these topics.

Von Mises believes individuals, their "judgments o
Jacob Aitken
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
While there is much good in this volume, I have some reservations (which I will list in my conclusion). Still, it is very lucid.

Values are subjective, but not relative.  Subject simply means “from the knowing subject.”  Thus Mises can write that “any scientific treatment of the problems of value judgements must take into full account the fact that these judgments are subjective and changing” (von Mises 24).

Mises holds to a utilitarian version of natural law.  By itself it isn’t that bad, but it
Fabricio Terán
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Libro de epistemología de las ciencias sociales, sobretodo de la economía, la sociología y la historiografía. Amplio conocimiento de los sistemas de pensamiento abordados y gran capacidad analítica para entender sus virtudes y falencias. Profundidad pero con lenguaje claro. Debería ser más conocido, si pudiera retroceder el tiempo sería el primer libro sobre alguna ciencia social que leería.
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Книга экономиста Людвига фон Мизеса "Теория и история" (см. русский перевод посвящена методологии общественных наук и отстаивает тезис о том, что они нуждаются в другом методе, чем естественные науки, по крайней мере на нынешнем этапе развития. Для естественных наук -- объяснение через причинность, для общественных -- через обращение к разделяемым людьми идеям, их целям и убеждениям. "Действия людей определяют идеи, ... по крайней мере, при настоящем сост ...more
In this book Mises' debunks all bullshit determinism and fatalism in the modern theory of history - like Historicism or Marx pretty disturbing and almost religious historical materialism - while defending the methodological dualism in his lucid and rational way based on a clear logical structure.
Although this book doesn't deal directly with economics it's, in my opinion, nontheless one of Mises most enjoyable books simply for the vast amount of important topics Mises tackles and makes clear to t
Robert Taylor
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The most important contribution by Mises to understanding why theory is essential to any address of historical inquiry. After Human Action, this is my favorite Mises book. I love his dry wit and humor and how extensively he delves into a destruction of all Karl Marx's ideas. The introduction by Murray Rothbard is also among the best summaries of the validity of Praxeology. Just great stuff!
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eye opening book in a class of its own. It cuts through a lot of the nonsense we are told and which is accepted as "good" political theory and history. Mises is never disappointing.
Don Lim
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many economists and historians attempting to analyze and extract theories from numerical data believe themselves to be free of any theory, bias, or subjectivity. The aim of science, natural and social, is to make universal claims and observations of reality. There is, however, a difference in methodological approaches between natural and social sciences. For the natural science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, etc.), hypotheses are put forth, tested through observations, and reasoned through i ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ludwig Von Mises w znakomitym stylu tłumaczy istotę niezaprzeczalnej wyższości wolności gospodarczej nad innymi systemami organizacji gospodarki. Rozprawia się także z pseudofilizoficznymi nurtami. Tłumaczy gdzie leży istota wolności i w czym tkwi jej źródło. Szkoda, że obecnie nie ma tak genialnego umysłu, który byłby w stanie obnażać absurdy kierunków w które zmierza świat. Wolność jest niestety w odwrocie, a do głosu niemal wszędzie dochodzą większe lub mniejsze ideologie socjalistycznej nędz ...more
Keith Darrell
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is simply an outstanding book that needs to be read and studied.

Political Individualism is on the wane and Political Collectivism is on the rise - and it seems the same basic parameters are almost identical 60 years later. In light of that, there's a sense in which Mises' work is the antidote to current Political Collectivism. There is, however, another sense in which Mises' work is wholly inadequate to strike the root.

First, the book is a methodological consideration on human action, whi
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Every so often I need a good intellectual challenge. Something that makes me use my dictionary and also challenges my thinking. This book will do that. In the Mises tradition he uses all of his favorite big words. The book is more about philosophy or epistemology than it is about history. We must understand how to think about history and how this impacts our interpretation and application of the lessons of history. The book succeeds on this point.

However, in this book Mises seems to make an att
Eric Sexton
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the type of book that anyone with an interest in philosophy should read. Unfortunately, it's likely that only people who are already familiar with Mises and his work on praxeology will ever come across it.

It's highly unfortunate that the state of modern thought is still as hostile to Mises' ideas as it was when this work was written (if not more so). But regardless of your political persuasion Mises has some important things to say about the nature of human action. This book does a great
Giovani Facchini
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neste excelente livro, Mises aborda uma grande quantidade de temas no que tange filosofia, julgamentos de valor, determinismo e materialismo, problemas epistemológicos da história e o curso da história.

Para cada um dos conceitos, Mises analisa a teoria elaborada por diferentes autores e faz uma forte crítica a uma vasta quantidade de teorias como determinismo, materialismo dialético (marxismo) e historicismo. Sua crítica mostra as incoerências inerentes aquelas teorias, a inconsistência dos jul
Although not one of Mises best works, it is worth reading. In it, Mises argues against various philosophies of history (such as historicism) and presents his own view: man acts and history is the result of such actions. These actions cannot be foreseen as no one is omniscient. Past events do not and cannot dictate the unfolding of future events because the summation of individual action is too complex.
Daniel Jacobs
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
von mises implies that he agrees with marx during his critique of marx. sly move
Craig Bolton
THEORY AND HISTORY (Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB) by LUDWIG VON MISES (2005)
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Extremely lucid exposition on philosophy of science, epistemology, and ethics.
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Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (German pronunciation: [ˈluːtvɪç fɔn ˈmiːzəs]; September 29, 1881 – October 10, 1973) was an Austrian economist, historian, philosopher, author, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern free-market libertarian movement and the Austrian School.
“Only stilted pedants can conceive the idea that there are absolute norms to tell what is beautiful and what is not. They try to derive from the works of the past a code of rules with which, as they fancy, the writers and artists of the future should comply. But the genius does not cooperate with the pundit.” 5 likes
“But even a victory of planning will not mean the end of history. Atrocious wars among the candidates for the supreme office will break out. Totalitarianism may wipe out civilization, even the whole of the human race. Then, of course, history will have come to its end too.” 2 likes
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