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Ludwig von Mises: "Human action is purposeful behavior." - Human Action


Quotable MisesThis database of quotations from Mises was prepared for The Quotable Mises edited by Mark Thornton, available from the Mises Institute store for $20. Send corrections to the editor. Here is a source page on the editions of the books referenced.

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Ludwig von MisesIn the realm of nature we cannot know anything about final causes, by reference to which events can be explained. But in the field of human actions there is the finality of acting men. Men make choices. They aim at certain ends and they apply means in order to attain the ends sought.Omnipotent Government p. 120Natural Sciences
Ludwig von MisesNothing could by more mistaken than the now fashionable attempt to apply the methods and concepts of the natural sciences to the solution of social problems.Omnipotent Government p. 120Natural Sciences
Ludwig von MisesWhat makes natural science possible is the power to experiment; what makes social science possible is the power to grasp or to comprehend the meaning of human action.Money, Method, and the Market Process p. 9Natural Sciences
Ludwig von MisesScience is competent to establish what is. It can never dictate what ought to be.Planned Chaos p. 30Science
Ludwig von MisesThere are no laboratory experiments in human action.Economic Policy p. 35Science
Ludwig von MisesScience does not give us absolute and final certainty. It only gives us assurance within the limits of our mental abilities and the prevailing state of scientific thought. A scientific system is but one station in an endlessly progressing search for knowledge.Human Action p. 7; p. 7Science
Ludwig von MisesWhat matters is not whether a doctrine is new, but whether it is sound.Planning for Freedom p. 53Science
Ludwig von MisesNo science can avoid abstract concepts, and he who abhors them should stay away from science and see whether and how he can go through life without them.A Critique of Interventionism p. 89Science
Ludwig von MisesThere are fads and fashions in the treatment of scientific problems and in the terminology of the scientific language.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 69Science
Ludwig von MisesWhat life and death are eludes its grasp.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 44Science
Ludwig von MisesOne has to recognize that science is not metaphysics, and certainly not mysticism; it can never bring us the illumination and the satisfaction experienced by one enraptured in ecstasy. Science is sobriety and clarity of conception, not intoxicated vision.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 46Science
Ludwig von MisesWhether we see the greatest value in wisdom or in action, in neither case may we scorn science. It alone shows us the way both to knowledge and to action. Without it our existence would be only vegetative.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 46Science
Ludwig von MisesScience is universally human, and not limited by nationality, bound to a particular time, or contingent upon any social class.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 152Science