Interview With Murray Rothbard – LewRockwell

The following is an interview conducted in the Summer of 1990 with Murray Rothbard for the Austrian Economics Newsletter. 

AEN: Any recent thoughts on hermeneutics?

MNR: That’s a history-of-thought question, since hermeneutics has been crushed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and David Gordon. Part of their critique is that the hermeneuticists were unable to demonstrate in concrete terms how this new “turn” would improve our understanding of economics. But if they hadn’t been challenged, they could have carried on for years.

AEN: The initial attraction to hermeneutics was Mises’s link with certain rationalist phenomenologists. What parts of this link do you like and dislike?

MNR: The link was Alfred Schütz. He was a free-market phenomenologist and an anti-positivist. He did excellent work attacking the positivists for dismissing minds in favor of experiments. He would then point out that you need minds to conduct and verify the experiments. Before this, Brentano was pretty close to Menger and the Austrians. The Brentanoites taught logic, reason, the science of human action, affirmed that values exist, and pursued an objective analysis of subjectivity. The thoughts of Dilthey, Windelbrand, Ricket, and Weber are useful for historical analysis, but not economic theory – Verstehen not Begreifen. In the pursuit of subjectivism, you cannot throw out science and reason. As phenomenology developed, with few exceptions, it became irrationalist and collectivist. Mises was always clear: its proponents don’t understand economics.

Man, Economy, and Stat…
Murray N. Rothbard
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The good parts of phenomenology are already a part of the Austrian tradition, as I pointed out in…

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