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Gadamer, Lavoie, and Their Critics: The Hermeneutics Debate Revisited

Joshua Lee Harris


Don Lavoies 1985 paper, The Interpretive Dimension of Economics, marked the beginning of what would prove to be a potentially groundbreaking but ultimately unsuccessful development in Austrian economic methodology. Reexamining the importance of this project, this study argues for two basic theses: (1) Professor Lavoies appropriation of the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer remains a robust philosophical framework for the Austrian science of praxeology; and (2) the Austrian critiques of his hermeneutical project ironically adopt the same epistemic presuppositions that have historically marginalized the distinctively Austrian methodology of praxeology. Lavoies hermeneutical Austrianism represents an unfortunately forgotten, yet important development that is sorely needed in contemporary debates in economic methodology.

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