Q: “CURT, WHY DO YOU WANT TO UNDERMINE PRAXEOLOGY?”

A: For a host of reasons.

1) Because praxeology, pseudoscience that it is, when we use it, harms the cause of liberty, by justifiably furthering the perception of libertarians as tinfoil-hat wearing social incompetents, engaged in justification, hero-worshipping and hermeneutic interpretation, in a secular version of theological analysis of scripture and the blind belief in prophets, differing only in use of platonic obscurantism rather than anthropomorphic supernatural language. (That’s a choice, and quotable paragraph.)

2) Because praxeology’s claims are patently false (which I’ve addressed elsewhere at length). Furthermore it is false to state that economics is an axiomatic rather than theoretic discipline, because demonstrably it has not been, and logically it cannot be. (Although I suppose I will have to continue to work to defeat ideological praxeology for the rest of my lifetime. )

3) Because philosophy is indeed missing a solution to, and logic of, the problem of cooperation that we call ‘ethics’ and ‘politics’, that renders commensurable and intelligible the findings of the physical sciences, economic history, and narrative history. Without this uniform system of descriptive ethics it is not possible to rationally construct institutional solutions to the persistent problem of increasing levels of cooperation among peoples with disparate means and ends.

4) Because it is possible to restate libertarian, anarcho-capitalist arguments by Hoppe in ratio-scientific language such that libertarian arguments can be conducted by rational and empirical means as a viable alternative to public choice theory and social democracy.

5) Because I care about actually winning, and obtaining liberty for myself, my progeny, and my people, rather than just making myself feel morally justified as a purely spiritual and psychological form of self gratification.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev

COMMENTS
Juan Fernando Carpio Tobar-Subia, Francesco Principi, Alejandro Veintimilla and 8 others like this.

Curt Doolittle
I’m trying to save the philosophy of liberty. That requires slaying the sacred cows of rationalism, praxeology and rothbardian ethics. I don’t see anyone else standing in line to further Hoppe’s work. (I am advancing Hoppe. Despite his reliance on Rationalism, Praxeology, Rothbardianism, and Argumentation. As Stephan Kinsella said, Hoppe pretty much got it right. The problem is converting hoppe’s correct solutions to liberty from pseudoscientific rationalism to ratio-scientific arguments, and restoring liberty to aristocracy where it came from – rather than its current, laughable, cosmopolitain, ghetto costume.)

Ayelam Valentine Agaliba
you are liable to upset many cultists. you will also need to address the truth as consensus nonsense

Ayelam Valentine Agaliba danny on the CR page has written a pretty comprehensive rebuttal of argumentation ethics, if you ask him he might send a copy on his recent stuff

Curt Doolittle
Val,
Thanks

I just went through it. It’s OK. I don’t think it’s any better than Long’s or Murphy’s.

And you know, I tend to rely on scientific arguments that are reducible to actions.

In the case of argumentation, the available actions at any given point of interaction consist of:
0) violence/theft/destruction;
1) ignorance/avoidance/rejection/boycott;
2) deception/stalling/debate/enticement/verbal coercion;
3) unethical exchange, immoral exchange, and fully informed, warrantied, voluntary exchange.

I can’t confirm that in any interaction, anyone attributes ownership of himself to another, only that each party attaches different costs of the different actions available as listed above. And that parties act according to to the costs. Unless one has an asymmetry of power, cooperation is less costly and more rewarding over the long term. So we choose it. As such most human political objectives seek to raise the cost of any action other than cooperation, such that only cooperation is cost effective.

In my work I have tried to show that high trust societies raise all costs such that all choices other than fully informed and warrantied voluntary exchange are intolerable.

And as far as I know that is all that we can say.

What we can say about argumentation, is that if all costs other than voluntary exchange are higher than voluntary exchange, that for all intents and purposes, one treats the other as sovereign over himself and his property, because it is cost effective to do so.

From that position it is possible to deduce all that hoppe has deduced.

Although, from what I understand, (I am not certain) he justified his solutions with argumentation rather than deduced his solutions from argumentation. But that is second hand information and I don’t really know.

Curt

Peter Boettke
Curt — praxeology is not unscientific, certain bad practitioners give it a bad name. So you don’t want to undermine the systematic study of purposive human action, you want to undermine bad practitioners of that science.

Curt Doolittle
@Peter Boettke. Bad practitioners Peter. But with a few qualifications.

TINFOIL HATS
I have one of the same basic objectives that your team at GMU does regarding the ‘brand name’ of liberty and libertarianism. Albeit I’m going about it under the assumption that public choice theory is inferior to private ownership of institutions (limited monarchy) and the civic society. So I am trying to restore legitimacy to libertarianism (Hoppe’s institutions) by restating it in ratio-scientific terms rather than as it stands in continental and cosmopolitan rationalism. My hope is to reform the private government arguments such that the pervasive ‘tinfoil hat’ arguments are not only abandoned, but easily defeated.

SCIENCE?
On the other hand, when you say ‘the study of purposeful human action” I think you mean the ratio-empirical study of human action which in turn can be reduced to a set of general purpose rules (theories) like any other discipline produces.

But in the continental and cosmopolitan rationalist world of Rothbardians (and Hoppeians), economics is a purely deductive discipline and empirical economics (or any other empirical study) has no standing – in no small part because of the purported absence of constant relations.

Now technically speaking, a science requires the use of the scientific method, and its theories produce predictable outcomes. A pseudoscience does not follow the scientific method yet claims it is a science. Furthermore, theoretical systems consist of statements that are bounded by correspondence with reality. Axiomatic systems are not. They are not bounded by reality. As such they are logics not sciences. We may use logics as instrumentation in science, but since logics are not bounded by reality they are not ‘scientific’ because they do not adhere to the scientific method whose purpose is to ensure that our statements are bounded by reality.

BROADER ISSUE: ETHICAL REALISM
My broader objectives is the restatement of what we call praxeology as a formal logic of cooperation, bounded by universal moral rules, which I see as a further extension of Ostom’s institutional work by combining it with Haidt’s research on morality. So my emphasis on ethics (particularly operational language, and constructivism) is toward this end.

Thanks for the note.

Always have been a fan.
Curt.

Alberto Dietz
Hi, Curt: Is there any truly successful refutation of Hoppe?

Curt Doolittle
Alberto.

Um.. I’m going to tease you and say that refuting Hoppe means that ‘Hoppe does not exist?’
One can criticize hoppe’s Argumentation ethic.
One can criticize his rationalism, anti-empiricism and (quite differently from Boettke) his take on Praxeology.
One can criticize his take on ethics.
One can criticize his critique of public vs private government.
One can criticize his solutions to the problem of formal institutions.

I think the first two have been pretty successfully attacked (Long, Murphy and others). And I think the next three are pretty successfullly supported. I try to improve his ethics for very specific reasons (reducing demand for the state). But otherwise it’s pretty solid argument.

I mean. I like to put a fork in rationalism wherever I can find it, but I still think Hoppe solved the problem of formal institutions (if not ethics and law).

 

Pocket Advice

—“Although transnational insurgencies comprise highly diverse groups across different conflicts and eras, they still have much in common. For one, such forces are winning: transnational insurgencies have won nearly half of the civil wars in which they have fought, almost twice the success rate of insurgencies overall. Several Israeli prime ministers have acknowledged that Israel’s victory in 1948 relied on the World War II veterans who aided the fledgling state against Arab armies. In other conflicts throughout history, prominent foreign fighters were either instrumental in extending insurgencies or making them costlier to suppress: the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who fought for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War; the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi, who supported the Republican uprising in Brazil in the 1830s; and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who formed al Qaeda in Iraq under the U.S. occupation. “—

–“The patterns of recruitment for such disparate fighters are broadly similar and, because of that, they all have the same Achilles’ heel…. Insurgent groups … use despair rather than optimism to recruit members. Generally, they tell recruits that they are losing a war of survival and that they face an existential threat.”–

–“It might not seem like the most persuasive pitch, particularly for fighters who, if they join, must violate a number of laws and take up arms in an unfamiliar territory. But it works. …. The strategy works best with foreign recruits who share the movement’s ideology, ethnicity, or religion but who, unlike local fighters, do not have immediate communities and families in the line of fire.”–

–“Such fighters are often persuadable because of their weak affiliations with their own country and national identity,”–

–” In these conflicts, the foreign fighters, driven by the belief that they are fighting a desperate battle to the end, act more aggressively than local insurgents — even when their side is actually winning. It’s no accident that most suicide missions in Afghanistan and Iraq were carried out by foreign fighters rather than local militants. “–

–“Some insurgent groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, have taken advantage of this dynamic by using foreigners to target civilians when the local combatants will not. “–

 

(ethics)

1) Rothbardian ethics: How to justify both private property, and private theft by deception and parasitism.

2) Public Choice Theory (Social Democracy) : How to justify public theft by pseudoscience and parasitism.

3) Hoppe’s Anarcho Capitalism : How to justify private property, and eliminate the monopoly bureaucracy and the state.

4) Aristocratic Egalitarianism : How to resolve all *possible* conflicts via the common law, and eliminate all demand for the state – no justification is needed.

All I did was base Hoppe’s deductions made from Argumentation on science and reason, rather than pseudoscience (praxeology) and rationalism.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev

 

–“…our civilization rests on the death of two persons: a philosopher (Socrates) and the Son of God (Jesus), both victims of the popular will.”– Madariaga

 

Women are more comfortable with free riding and with charity, and men are extremely conservative about resources. Women happily sacrifice for their children. Men cautiously sacrifice for their tribe. Women advocate for their children regardless of their merits, while men are more parsimonious because they desire the strongest tribe. For men, a woman and his children are just the smallest possible tribe that he can lead. For a woman, it is very risky, especially in the ignorance of youth, to choose just one man upon which to risk her future.

While men cannot articulate this set of intuitions and strategies, women often confuse the difference in evolutionary strategies between men and women. And particularly the difference between a woman’s offspring, and a man’s tribe.

I’ve seen so many marriages where the woman expects the man to have the same interest toward her and the children, as she has. And there are some men who approach a woman’s sacrifice. But for the majority of us, it is a very bad investment. And with the state making it impossible for us to save for retirement, given our shorter productive life spans, and greater specialization, and greater variation – it’s now an extremely bad idea to engage in marriage.

Marriage is an artificial construct. For a man, he is best off if he trades productivity (no longer protection) and affection for as many women as he can get attention from. And a woman’s best interest is to form a group with other women and select from different men what she wants and needs. This is how we evolved: everyone having sex with everyone else – some of which was for bond building, and some of which was for the purpose of reproduction.

Any society that does not maintain at least the nuclear family will be dominated an exterminated by those that do.

 

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on the simplicity of the argument and I think I have it pretty close to done. Now I have to think about how to introduce it. And I think I’ll approach it by formulating the right question (stating the right problem). I don’t think I’ll tie it to libertarianism directly, but take Haidt’s approach of simply addressing the issue. That makes my arguments less ‘niche’ and less associated with ‘whacky libertarians’.

PART 1 – MORAL REALISM (ETHICS)
I think the best thing is to state the problem, then state the whole argument.

Then list the extensions to property, ethics and morality.

Then show how the argument addresses the problem. Then pose a list of questions that this argument must also address to confirm it’s assertions.

Then I rearrange my chapters such that they address those questions.

Then I follow that with the (many) applications.

PART 2 – POLITICAL ETHICS
I think at this point I address moral realism from the ground up. Including the performative (Attestation) theory of truth, and work through each of the major branches of philosophy.

Next I attack platonism, obscurantism, pseudoscience, and mysticism as immoral, and add the new extensions to political ethics.

PART 3 – POLITICAL ECONOMY
Work through the institutional solutions now that we’ve built a foundation.

PART 4 – APPENDICES

APPENDIX 2 – Reform Libertarianism.
Address praxeology
Address ghetto ethics

APPENDIX 3 – Reform Conservatism

APPENDIX 4 – Brief Attack on Democratic Ideologies one by one.

APPENDIX X – Go through the formal logic of cooperation. This seems very difficult but since I’m just building on Ostrom’s work I don’t have to go into all the multitudinous defenses she does, I just extend that work.

 

As far as I know I’m the only one arguing that the autistic spectrum should be described as the “solipsistic-autistic spectrum”, but I might argue that I’m just using loaded language to demonstrate and allow us to criticize the failure of the female side of the spectrum as well as the male. That is because women are are as comfortable using solipsistic arguments as we are using autistic. However, I’m pretty sure that the basic thesis is correct. That is, that most of these brain states are produce by in-utero chemistry.

Baron-Cohen, S. 1995. Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
______. 2002. “The Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6:248–54.
______. 2009. “Autism: The Empathizing-Systemizing (E-S) Theory.” In “The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience,” special issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1156:68–80.
Lucas, P., and A. Sheeran. 2006. “Asperger’s Syndrome and the Eccentricity and Genius of Jeremy Bentham.” Journal of Bentham Studies 8:1–20.

 

I love bibliographies of major works. On my site I collect reading lists and the biographies of the authors that I respect most.

Today, I’m working on restructuring my chapter order to be less about libertarianism, and to accommodate the improvements in my arguments over the past year. So I am working through Hiadt’s bibliographies trying to see if there is anything that I haven’t read.

And, you know, there really isn’t. Which scares me. lol. Although, it really makes sense because we’re very close in age, and went through our intellectual development during the same period, and information that counteracts the progressive fantasy just sort of exploded during the last thirty years. I just was later in my development because I was distracted by ‘business’ when younger and it’s really only over the past ten years that I have been able to devote such concentrated time to my work.

When you get down to it, my major (almost exclusive) influences have been: (Poincare + Brouwer + Taleb + Popper) + Hayek + Duchesne + Stephen Hicks + Kahneman + (Hoppe + Haidt). Haidt and Hoppe the most influential.

I made the mistake of trying to solve the problem Haidt did with computer science (artificial intelligence) because at the time I was in school, psychology was still in the postmodern catastrophe that was progressivism. It was gut classes for stupid people. But at that point in time, despite the fact taht I understood the problem was one of emotions and objects, I couldn’t solve it. Haidt did.

But it worked out as a benefit because computer science is an operational methodology and taught me how to think without the nonsensical platonic categories that are universal to that ‘lost’ discipline we call philosophy. You can say fuzzy things in philosophy, logic and math but you cannot actually operationalize them with a computer, and a computer is just a very fast way of conducting human operations (switches).

I did finally understand that voluntary exchange, property, inventory, substitution and acquisitiveness are the means of creating an artificial intelligence, but I have less interest in that field than I do in formal institutions of cooperation. So this is where I’m spending my time.

Anyway, collecting these biographies has been fascinating because if you collect enough of them you see that very few works by very few authors have any material impact in social and political science.

It’s been a 2500 year journey to try to solve the problem of cooperation. But we are getting very close to it.

 

Well, I have no idea if that’s meant as a compliment or an insult. Of course, I consider myself part of the Dark Enlightenment (NeoReactionary movement). Mencius uses continental arguments which frustrate the hell out of me, since I’m trying to reform libertarian reasoning and formal institutions by basing it instead on unloaded, objective language of the ratio-scientific method.

But that said, it’s a fair association to make, whether compliment or criticism.

Just surprised me and made me laugh.
Photo: “Doolittle is the Moldbug of Facebook”

COMMENTS
Andriy Drozda, Eric Blankenburg, Eric Field and 5 others like this.

Michael Pattinson
Ha ha ha

James Santagata
lol

Jason Conway
My immediate association between Doolittle and Moldbug was the word ‘prolific’.

Curt Doolittle
Jason… Yeah, I thought the same thing. lol

 

(important)(insight)(parsimony)

The trick is to fill moral and ethical vacuums with rationally adjudicable property rights rather than the state, religious authority, superstition, or some other rule or taboo.

The rothbardian definition of property will not produce rational incentives sufficient for the formation of a voluntary polity. Definitions of property, like rules of common law, must evolve with the complexity of the society to reflect all possible ethical and moral constraints such that ALTERNATIVE ethical and moral constraints – of which the state is only one form – do not evolve to take the place of missing moral and ethical constraints. Humans will find a way to fill a moral or ethical vacuum because transaction costs of the moral and ethical vacuum are simply prohibitively high. That is why societies have eccentric moral codes, laws, rules and rituals: they have no method – like the common law – of advancing property rights by rational means. Property is our only rational means of advancing prohibition on unethical and immoral behavior and thereby driving out the high transaction costs they create.

For libertarianism to be palatable and rationally preferable for other than a marginally indifferent minority, we must repair the definition of property that is adjudicable under the common law, to reflect the entire scope of moral and ethical constraints. Moral intuitions do vary in amplitude and priority but those that apply to cooperation are instinctual prohibitions on in-group free riding: violence, theft, fraud, fraud by omission, fraud by negative externality, free riding, socialization of losses, privatization of gains, corruption and conspiracy – and every permutation and possibility in between.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev

 
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