Axiomatic Psychology

Can we have an axiomatic theory of psychology?

A bit of background: since at least the time of Spinoza, up until the present day, a limited number of people have made attempts at creating an axiomatic approach to understanding and studying the human psyche.

They have all failed to gain any traction or respect. The most likely reason, in my assessment, is quite simply having way too many axioms.

An axiom is supposed to be a clear, “self-evident” truth, from which one can then logically derive other truths. The most famous use of axioms is by Euclid, where he used 5 very simply stated axioms (like “The whole is greater than the part”) to derive a few hundred pages of geometry. Modern mathematical economics also uses a handful of axioms, while the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises only required one axiom (“Human action is purposeful behavior”) to understand the world.

However, modern attempts at axiomatizing psychology include dozens of axioms. For example, the “pyscho-logic” approach has over 50 axioms. What’s worse, is that many of these axioms have been expressed mathematically.

To me, this is unnecessarily complicated analysis. So below, I have attempted to give a start to a new kind of axiomatic psychology, using only one axiom:

Axiom: Thinking is the ability of a brain to observe, analyze, and decide.

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The Impossibility of Economic Calculation, in One-Syllable Words

More economics in one-syllable words, this time Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth by Ludwig von Mises. Here is a two-paragraph summary:

Cash is the one thing that all of us in the world want. This trait of cash is what lets us use it with math: if the cash I pay to build a good is less than the cash I will get when I sell it, I can make the choice to build the good in a clear way. For cash to have this trait, though, it must trade among all goods in the world, and each trade must be a free choice. This way, each price lets us know how much a thing is worth to all the folks in the world.

But in a world where all a large chunk of the goods are owned by one group, then that group can’t trade what it owns with things that it also owns to get a cash price. It would be mad. Since these goods can’t be priced in cash, we can’t know how what they’re worth to the world! Thus, to use math to learn if our yield to build a thing is good or bad would be vain. This is bad!

And a longer, section-by-section summary of the whole essay:

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Mises’ Bureaucracy, in One-Syllable Words

Bureaucracy, by Ludwig von Mises, summarized in one-syllable words:

Folks on both the left and the right claim to hate the thing this book is named for. The word has rude tinge to it. The gripes are that they’re slow, with lots of fault in how they’re run, and who they’re run by: lots old guys — way more than there ought to be.

Yet they keep on their path of growth. Strange, right? Do they even know what it is that they’re mad at? I don’t think they know. But I know what’s got their goat. Read on to find out.

Continue reading “Mises’ Bureaucracy, in One-Syllable Words”

The Collected Works of Ludwig von Mises

MisesLibrary.jpgIt always struck me as strange that such a great and important thinker as Ludwig von Mises, whose last posthumous work was published in 2012, did not have a dedicated and comprehensive anthology. Since I personally have a significant interest in “what Mises said” on this or that topic, it also frustrated me that there was no simple online resource available where I could do this—despite so much of Mises’s works being available online.

Thus, I’ve used my time during the COVID-19 lockdown to create this compendium: over 8600 pages, 36 separate volumes, 200 megabytes.

Find it under the Free eBooks section of this website, or simply click here. This version was last updated May 12th, 2020. 

The list of titles of the collected works include:

Title

CTRL+F

Pages of the PDF

A Critique of Interventionism

KZ01

4-143

Bureaucracy                                                                                

KZ02

144-272

Economic Freedom and Intervention                                                     

KZ03

273-585

Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow                                  

KZ04

586-682

Human Action (Scholar’s Edition)

KZ05

683-1635

Interventionism: An Economic Analysis                                               

KZ06

1636-1764

Liberalism                                                                                  

KZ07

1765-1973

Liberty and Property                                                                    

KZ08

1974-2028

Marxism Unmasked                                                                       

KZ09

2029-2154

Memoirs                                                                                     

KZ10

2155-2303

Money, Method, and the Market Process                                            

KZ11

2304-2658

Nation, State, and Economy                                                             

KZ12

2659-2883

Notes and Recollections, with the Historical Setting of the Austrian School         

KZ13

2884-3068

Omnipotent Government                                                                 

KZ14

3069-3421

Planned Chaos                                                                            

KZ15

3422-3465

Planning for Freedom (and other essays)

KZ16

3466-3658

Profit and Loss                                                                             

KZ17

3659-3718

Selected Works Vol I                                                                     

KZ18

3719-4151

Selected Works Vol II                                                                    

KZ19

4152-4608

Selected Works Vol III                                                                   

KZ20

4609-4929

Socialism: An Economic Analysis                                                           

KZ21

4930-5524

The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality                                                          

KZ22

5525-5613

The Clash of Group Interest and Other Essays                                       

KZ23

5614-5650

The Free Market and Its Enemies                                                       

KZ24

5651-5769

The Theory of Money and Credit                                                       

KZ25

5770-6306

The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science                                         

KZ26

6307-6451

On the Manipulation of Money and Credit                                                                       

KZ27

6452-6676

The “Austrian” Theory of the Trade Cycle                                                                          

KZ28

6677-6689

Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth                                                     

KZ29

6690-6780

Money and Inflation                                                                                

KZ30

6781-6874

Epistemological Problems of Economics

KZ31

6875-7123

Entries for the Encyclopedia Britannica

KZ32

7124-7134

Theory and History

KZ33

7135-7529

Human Action (Liberty Fund Edition, volumes 1-3)

KZ34

7530-8442

A Critique of Bohm-Bawerk’s Reasoning

KZ35

8443-8451

Glossary (“Mises Made Easier”)

KZ36

8452-8602