18 February 2013
Praxeology, what does it do? (first draft, first thoughts)
Praxeology distinguishes itself from science [social/statistical or physical/empirical] in seeking to describe the circumstances under which human interactions proceed, while avoiding accidentally prescriptive methodologies.
A scientist or any curious and ambitious individual wants to shape the world around them to satisfy their interests, aspirations and expectations. We expend effort to accomplish those things and in doing so demonstrate through experience, rather than assumption, that we can achieve arbitrary goals we set.
In MES and other Austrian School works that deal with using praxeology for economic [or other] analysis consider these brief thoughts.
The concepts of apriori and aposteriori, essentially before and after the fact/act/event/exchange, contrast knowledge acquired through creative thought and that through experience. Contrast adding numbers in your head to counting sheep in a field. If you're still of mind you can probably add many numbers together in succession, but even the keenest eye will need require some better process than simply eyeing his stock because those woolly little bastards move around a lot.
If you count them one at a time that may work but will also require much time, at least if your stock is large. And thereafter if we're talking economics simply counting cannot account the quality or retrievable profit on the individual sheep.
So all the sciences, so called or not, rely on tremendous amounts of knowledge and supporting data.
Therefore praxeology analyzes events before they occurs to help guide the efforts human's put forth to shape the environment and those events. I rehash likely one of the more common fundamental examples, "inaction":
You wake up [for whatever reason, either alarm clock, or just been in bed too long] and then get out of bed. That was not the necessary course of events and your choice says something about you, even if you don't want to admit it. You wanted to get out of bed more than you wanted to stay in bed.
Now semantic/philosophical considerations aside, this knowledge I now have about you, whoever and whatever you are, is profound.
The economic parallel is the free market exchange. (Before though please remember that we're talking about thoughts in our head, ideal types like a perfect circle, which by all reason is impossible in reality, and certainly in our reality there is not a free market here or much of anywhere, at least not at a large scale, and so much more can be said about that)
When two individuals participate in some exchange, be that barter, sale or other we know that at least in the moment of exchange each individual values what they get more than what they give up.
From there many great thoughts proceed.