Mises’s action axiom postulates that human action is purposeful behavior. While this axiom is the building block for a powerful methodology, it is also incomplete, because it sets aside the underlying processes of decision-making. And while Mises does not dismiss the gap between intention and action, he is silent on it, relegating such a study to psychology. We contend that a study of underlying thought patterns and the process of choice – rather than contradicting praxeology and the action axiom – in fact complements the writings of Mises. To demonstrate this, we look at two authors: F.A. Hayek and Vernon Smith. Hayek’s theory of the sensory order sheds light on the process of choice, and explains how decision-making is contextually embedded. Smith’s concepts of ecological rationality and neurological “hard-wiring” help us understand decision-making. We argue that cognitive foundations enrich our understanding of the process of choice, and thus of the Misesian action axiom.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 15, 2014
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