Praxeology - Episode 6 - Ends and Means
Translations of this material:
- into Russian: Праксиология Эпизод 6 — Цели и средства. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by IrinaChernykh 10.06.2015
- into French: Praxéologie - Episode 6 - Fins et Moyens. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by briquolo 09.09.2011
- into Dutch: Praxeologie - Aflevering 6 - Doelen en Middelen. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by chamullero 25.08.2011
- into Spanish: Praxeología - Episodio 6 - Fines y Medios. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by perogruyo 13.08.2011
Hi Guys, Praxgirl here.
In our last lesson, I made the case for why it would -- not only be redundant -- but outright inappropriate to refer to the rationality of human action. I also showed how Praxeology avoids analyzing the ultimate goals of acting men and is thus value-free.
In this lesson I want to start explaining and categorizing the logical implications of action. Human action is purposeful behavior. Purposeful action is man’s conscious aiming at ends through means. You’ve heard me talk a lot about Ends and Means in previous lessons, but what is Praxeology referring to when it speaks of them?
When a man acts, the result which he wants to achieve can be called his end or goal or aim. Man always acts to remove some uneasiness and The End is the desired state without that uneasiness.
For man to achieve the end desired he must employ a means. A thing becomes a means when human reason plans to employ it for the attainment of some end and human action really employs it for this purpose.
It’s important to note that both Ends and Means don’t exist in the physical universe without man.
In the universe, there are no means, there are things, and man gives those things meaning. When Praxeology speaks of Ends and Means it is referring to the conscious meaning that man gives to the environment in which he lives. If he has a goal he wishes to achieve, it is because his mind perceives some uneasiness, but this may not be something that can be empirically observed by other people and Praxeology never refers to it as such. A goal starts as an idea he holds internally and becomes a real goal when acts to achieve it.
Likewise, things first have to be identified in the mind of a man as serviceable. Man has to put a meaning to a thing he thinks can help him achieve his goal. These things become Means when an acting man actually uses them to reach some end.
As you can see, Praxeology isn’t a science that studies just the external world, but man’s conduct with regard to the external world.
Praxeology takes the subjective meanings which man gives to things and analyzes them to build a science that can derive knowledge and information from the logically necessary laws of action. It doesn’t say how a man should act, but what will happen if a man does act.
For example: one of our later lessons will deal with inflation of the money supply. Praxeology concludes that artificial inflation of the money supply logically leads to the misallocation of resources within an economy. But if men choose not understand this necessary conclusion, then Praxeology analyzes the costs of actions of how men are acting now, not how they would act if they were different from what they really are.
Praxeology is not a science about things and tangible material objects.
Praxeology is a science about men, their meaning and their actions.
I’ll see you guys in the next lesson.