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The Role of Empirical Assumptions in Economic Analysis: On Facts and Counterfactuals in Economic Law

  • Stringham Edward P

    (Trinity College)

  • Gonzales R.


How much of economic theory can be derived using pure logic and how much of it depends on empirical facts? In a provocative article, Hülsmann (2003) criticizes Mises and Rothbard for relying on empirical assumptions, ceteris paribus claims, and thought experiments in their analysis. Instead, Hülsmann proposes a counterfactual method that does not rely on any empirical assumptions and is said to produce universally valid claims. Upon inspection we find that many of his proposed laws are either inexact, incorrect, or must rely on subsidiary assumptions to be true. We conclude that the traditional approach of Mises and Rothbard appears to be more fruitful and true.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

Volume (Year): 15 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Pages: 1-13

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:15:y:2009:i:1:n:2
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