Lachmann, Keynes, and Subjectivism

Including a Symposium on Ludwig Lachmann

ISBN: 978-1-78769-862-8, eISBN: 978-1-78769-861-1

ISSN: 0743-4154

Publication date: 19 August 2019


The Austrian economist Ludwig Lachmann claimed that Keynes was a lifelong subjectivist. To evaluate this, we start by distinguishing Keynes’ writings on probability theory from his writings on economics. In the General Theory (1936), Keynes’ treatment of expectations provides the basis for Lachmann’s view that Keynes was a subjectivist at heart. In his Treatise on Probability (1921), Keynes refers explicitly to the subjectivism–objectivism divide in probability theory and pins his colors to the objectivist mast. In this essay, we present the objectivist slant in Keynes’ earlier writings on probability theory. Thereafter, we evaluate the criteria Lachmann employed to cast Keynes as a subjectivist.




I would like to thank Rod O’Donnell and two referees for the most useful comments and recommendations they made on previous drafts.


Torr, C. (2019), "Lachmann, Keynes, and Subjectivism", Including a Symposium on Ludwig Lachmann (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 37B), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 69-81.

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