Ludwig von Mises on Science and Morality

Ludwig von Mises was a supporter of the (classical) liberal order of society, but he did not try to use science to prove that it was objectively just or good.

Science has to do with existential propositions: with the “is” and the “is not.” It is only with regard to existential propositions that there can be any question of truth versus falsity.

Value judgments, on the other hand, are not existential propositions and are not subject to proof or disproof.

Value is based on individual human perception. Some like chocolate ice cream, some like vanilla ice cream. Some like to see others suffer and some like to see others thrive.

Society is the pattern that comes about from individuals choosing cooperative means to attain their personally valued ends. If some individuals choose uncooperative means to attain their personally valued ends, they are not acting objectively ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. They are only acting at odds with the subjective ends of other individuals.

In the religious age, the wishes of The Invisible Man were taken as determining right and wrong. In modern day, without such a notion, we can observe the wishes of individuals and see if they are compatible with ours, and attempt to persuade them to act otherwise if they aren’t. The claim that they are acting ‘objectively evil’ is however invariably at odds with the notion of subjective value.

Based partially on: Why Liberalism? | by Daniel James Sanchez (also in video)

  1. nielsio posted this
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