Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
An Outline of a Praxeological Theory of Politics
ABSTRACT: Throughout his works on methodology, Mises presented economics as part of a more comprehensive science of human action, praxeology. The relation between the two was hierarchical. Praxeology encompassed economics, which was human action under the conditions of monetary calculation, together with any other number of disciplines that could be derived from the categories of human action under specifically assumed conditions. This paper argues that politics/political science can form a sub-field of praxeology. Based on the dichotomy between the economic and political means, politics is going to be defined as the discipline that studies the logic implied by a specific form of human interaction: one individual living off the efforts of another by extracting his resources. Starting from this, the paper provides an outline of politics, and argues that elements of an a priori theory of politics can be found in the writings of Austrian school scholars, although they have not yet been grouped under a specific field. The paper also argues that a distinctive field of politics will aid Austrian scholars in better distinguishing their approach from the positivist insights provided by the Public Choice school. A distinctive field of politics will lead to a better understanding of how far the a priori can go, and where the thymological enters the scene.