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By Murray N. Rothbard

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In contrast, people will devote the greatest interest and care to their own property. Second, one of Plato's arguments for communal property is that it is conducive to social peace, since no one will be envious of, or try to grab the property of, another. Aristotle retorted that communal property would lead to 14 Economic thought before Adam Smith continuing and intense conflict, since each will complain that he has worked harder and obtained less than others who have done little and taken more from the common store.

To muddle matters further, Aristotle, under the influence of the Pythagorean number-mystics, introduced obscure and obfuscating mathematical terms into what could have been a straightforward analysis. The only dubious benefit of this contribution was to give many happy hours to historians of J6 Economic thought before Adam Smith economic thought attempting to read sophisticated modern analysis into Aristotle. This problem has been aggravated by an unfortunate tendency among historians of thought to regard great thinkers of the past as necessarily consistent and coherent.

Once articulated and set forth, they impel assent to their truth by a shock of recognition: once articulated, they become evident to the human mind. Since these axioms are then established as certain and apodictic, the processes of logic - themselves universal and apodictic and transcending time and place - can be used to arrive at absolutely true conclusions. While this method of reasoning - of philosophy and of economics - is both empirical, being derived from the world, and true, it runs against the grain of modern philosophies of science.

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An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Volume I: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith by Murray N. Rothbard


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