Barry Smith Online

28 August 2008 at 9:03 am 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

I just learned that Barry Smith’s influential book, Austrian Philosophy: The Legacy of Franz Brentano (Open Court, 1994), is available online in its entirety. This is not a book on the Vienna School or logical positivism or Wittgenstein, but on the general philosophical climate in Austria during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special emphasis on the influence of this climate on Carl Menger’s economics. Menger, Smith has argued, was steeped in the Catholic, Aristotelian tradition of classical Austrian philosophy and this helps explain how his “causal-realist” approach differs from its Walrasian and Jevonsian counterparts.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Austrian Economics, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael F. Martin  |  28 August 2008 at 12:18 pm

    The legend I heard about Brentano as an undergrad was that he once successfully persuaded Freud out of atheism (for a few days). His influence on Freud is apparent in Civilization and its Discontents.

  • 2. Rafe Champion  |  29 August 2008 at 1:55 am

    The final chapter of the book contains an updated version of an article that Smith contributed to the 1990 collection on Menger edited by Bruce Caldwell. The article is also on line

    http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/menger.html

    The line of thought that Brentano and Meinong pioneered was transformed to take some very strange and different forms, ranging from gestalt psychology, to phenomenology (a la Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre), Popper’s “third world” of the objective contents of thought, elements of analytical philosophy (Russell and Moore) and maybe even Logical Positivism.

    Hulsmann pointed out that the a priorism of Mises is not in debt to Kant even though the terminolgy (a priori, apostiori) took on a new lease of life due to his influence. The apriorism of Menger and Mises comes from a particular take on Aristotle (as Pete noted) plus Descartian intellectualism, that is the notion of justification (proof) by the clear and distinct perception of ideas.

    Smith floated the idea of “fallible apriorism” which gives up the unhelpful idea of proof (which results in dogmatism) and sticks with the idea of apriorism as a method or heuristic.

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