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The Moral Scholar and the A-Moral Scientist: The Responsibility of the Social Scientist in Austrian Economics before and after the Migration

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

ISBN: 978-1-78560-960-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-959-6

ISSN: 0743-4154

Publication date: 23 July 2016

Abstract

In this chapter it is argued that when the Austrian revival takes place in the 1970s and 1980s the image of economics as an analytical science which can be methodologically kept clean from value judgments, and the economist as a pure truth-seeker shapes modern Austrian economics at the expense of an idea of a socially involved, embedded scholar with a responsibility toward society which was characteristic of the pre-WWII Austrian school. The neglect of that part of the Austrian heritage is important not only for how we understand the role and responsibility of the social scientist but also because it alters what we consider to be relevant and valid economic knowledge. The chapter demonstrates that insight into economic processes was excluded from what was considered valid economic knowledge and how social relevance of knowledge was no longer a goal in the postwar Austrian School. The chapter identifies alternative currents in the modern Austrian school to this general trend and suggests ways forward to think about the appropriate institutions to promote relevance and the moral conduct of (Austrian) economics.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgment

The author would like to thank an anonymous referee, Pete Boettke, Solomon Stein, Arjo Klamer, and Pavel Kuchař for valuable suggestions and comments. While working on this chapter Erwin Dekker was a postdoctoral fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center and the Department of Economics at George Mason University.

Citation

Dekker, E. (2016), "The Moral Scholar and the A-Moral Scientist: The Responsibility of the Social Scientist in Austrian Economics before and after the Migration", Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 34A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 45-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0743-41542016000034A003

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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