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Was the School of Salamanca proto-Austrian?

Denis, A. (2015). Was the School of Salamanca proto-Austrian?. Paper presented at the The Scottish Economic Society annual conference, 13-15 Apr 2015, Perth, Scotland.


In this paper I challenge Murray Rothbard's interpretation of the School of Salamanca as proto-Austrian. I argue that Scholasticism is in goals and methods profoundly different from any modern school of economics, and that it is mistaken to use the Austrian school as a standard against which the Salamancans are to be appraised. Further, Rothbard͛s interpretation is vitiated by a misconception of the specificity of the Austrian School: while the Salamancans bequeath a lasting heritage for 21st century economists, it is a broad contribution, one for many schools, and not at all one specific to the Austrian standpoint. Finally, the natural law tradition, which Rothbard correctly identifies as a continuity between early modern, classical and Austrian thought, far from an anticipation of scientific thinking in the Salamancans, constitutes a residue of religious thinking amongst at least some Austrians.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Also presented at: The UK History of Economic Thought annual conference, Manchester, September 2015; The Historical and Philosophical Perspectives in Economics (HPPE) seminar, London School of Economics, November 2015; “New Approaches towards the Historical Method of Economics” conference, Amiens, France, September, 2016; The Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) seminar, Goldsmiths, March 2017.
Publisher Keywords: School of Salamanca, Austrian School, natural law, Scholasticism, Murray Rothbard
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
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