Philosophy of Austrian Economics – Extended Cut

Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series

37 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2021

Date Written: December 13, 2021


Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics, published in 1871, is usually regarded as the founding
document of the Austrian School of economics. Many of the School’s prominent representatives, including Friedrich Wieser, Eugen Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig Mises, Hans Mayer, Friedrich August Hayek, Fritz Machlup, Oskar Morgenstern, and Gottfried Haberler, as well as Israel Kirzner, Ludwig Lachmann, Murray Rothbard, Don Lavoie, and Peter Boettke, advanced and modified Menger’s research program in sometimes conflicting ways. Yet, some characteristics of the Austrian School remain (nearly) consensual from its foundation through to contemporary neo-Austrian economists. In eight sections, we will briefly discuss some of the philosophical and methodological characteristics of Austrian economics: Austrian action theory and interpretative understanding, a relatively thoroughgoing subjectivism, methodological individualism, ontological individualism, apriorism, essentialism, an often overstated rejection of formal methods, and alertness to economic semantics.

Keywords: Austrian economics, methodology, subjectivism, individualism, apriorism, praxeology, essentialism, formal methods, economic semantics

JEL Classification: B13, B25, B40, B53, C18

Suggested Citation

Linsbichler, Alexander, Philosophy of Austrian Economics – Extended Cut (December 13, 2021). Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: or

Alexander Linsbichler (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )


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