The Difference Between “Operational” and “Intuitionistic”.


[I] use the term “Operational” in preference to “Intuitionistic” because the term “intuitionistic” is an uncomfortable one (like “rent-seeking”) that is open to easy misinterpretation, and the term “operational” invokes the meaning that I want it to: actions that humans can possibly take.

But this is a personal act of argumentative license. There is a significant difference between the terms Operational(actions we take to observe and measure) and Intuitionistic(physical and mental operations that it is possible for humans to perform).

In practice, when speaking tests of existential possibility, macro economic measures must be performed operationally, often using logical and physical instrumentation. But tests of existential possibility, rationality, and voluntary and involuntary transfer, require only sympathetic testing (reducing economic phenomenon to at least loosely rational sequence of actions that are subjectively believable).

So just as mathematical operations must be mentally possible and logically consistent (maintaining a balance of ratios), so must sequences of human actions be mentally possible (posses information to do so), subjectively consistent (what we often mistakenly call ‘rational’, but meaning preferential), and if physical action required, physically possible.

Lest someone leap to conclusions, The difference between mathematical systems and real world systems, is the difference between axiomatic(closed) and real (open) in which humans are constantly subject to information by which they can rearrange the priority of preferences in vast overlapping networks, as well as attempt to outwit one another (contrarian opportunism).

As such, since in an axiomatic system all information is present, and in a real-world(open) system, all information can never be present, our ability to deduce outcomes is dependent on the degree to which the information is closed (invariant): the more open the system is to new information the less predictive it can be – and as Taleb has demonstrated, shocks generate more consequential signals than predictable signals, and the information required to anticipate signals in the tail is many thousands of times higher than the same predictability within the primary distribution. Therefore while we can deduce general trends in economic phenomenon, we cannot deduce all economic phenomenon with any degree predictive success. Yet we can (usually) explain observed phenomenon given time.

This means that the Austrian program is largely correct: that economic policy will produce deterministic results. But the position of the main stream opposition is that the good achieved by manipulation is greater than the harm caused by economic distortion. (This remains the central subject of contention, since it will be very hard to prove on way or another.)

The general trend in economics has been one in which we attempt to provide that improvement by disallowing a shortage of money that would impede growth, by targeting various empirical measures of questionable use, and using the maximum borrowing capacity of the state as a means of inter-temporally adjusting investments in infrastructure and commons. But this emphasis has led to ignoring the means by which economies perform: demographics, education policy, industrial policy, rule of law, homogeneity of culture, and trust. In other words: taking human capital for granted under the false assumption of equality and the good of diversity.

And this is problematic, because the first most important criteria for economic performance in the absence of external inputs of technology, or military conquest, or possession of unique territory, is trust. And the corporeal state, multiculturalism, and universalism appear to erode that trust systematically – with predictable results.

So, while I may switch from Operationalism (broader) to Intuitionism (narrower) at present I prefer the broader term because of its general meaning and broader scope even though in economics the term Intuitionism is probably closer to corresponding with the purpose I intend: a requirement for the existential possibility of operations in order to criticize our assumptions (premises).

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


Science Is A Moral Discipline In Which We Struggle to Speak Truthfully

[S]cience is a moral discipline wherein we criticize our ideas, so that we can speak them truthfully:

1— We test our reasoning with logic for internal consistency.
2— We test our observations with external correspondence.
3— We test the existential possibilities of our premises by defining them in operations.
4— We test the scope and limits of our theory with attempts at falsification.
5— We test the completeness of our theory with intertemporal accounting.
6— We test the consequences of our theories for externalities (involuntary transfers).

Once we have tested our theories by these means, then we can say that we speak truthfully – and as such do no harm.

Curt Doolittle
Testimonialism and Propertarianism
The Philosophy of Aristocracy 
The Propertarian Institute 
Kiev, Ukraine


Operationalism: From Law Through Mathematics


[I] hope that this spectrum: law, economics, assists us in understanding the position of praxeology in the list of moral constraints that require operational and intuitionistic tests of propositions, prior to making truth claims.

Strict Construction is an abused term where the courts instead use the terms Textualism and Original Intent. But under propertarian property rights theory Strict Construction refers to requiring that any law passed be accompanied by argument showing that such a law is specifically authorized by the constitution. In other words, laws constitute the permissible legal operations. And none of them can violate property rights. This is important because otherwise, if discretion is required, then judges can insert deception, imaginary content, bias and error into the body of law. (As they have done, circumventing the legislature, the constitution, and property rights.) As such the principle of Propertarian Strict Construction (as opposed to textualism’s strict construction) requires that we operationally define the construct of all any law. This principle is important because laws have the greatest affect on a polity – and often the greatest unintended effect upon individuals and the polity.

Intuitionism (praxeology) in economics is important because manipulation of the economy causes redistributions, gains and losses. As a moral constraint, it is only slightly less influential than law.

Operationism in psychology was important in the recent transformation of psychology from a pseudoscience, to an experimental discipline, and because psychologists do produce, and did produce negative externalities – harm, to others. Not the least of which was multiple generations suffering from illnesses cast as cognitive problems.

Medical treatments and tests are discussed as protocols.

Operationalism is physics was important because it demonstrated that we expended a great deal of time and money by NOT practicing operationalism and that Einstein’s innovation should have been much earlier and could have been if we had practiced it.

Intuitionism in mathematics was less important because there are few if any externalities produced by classical mathematical operations other than the psychological fallacy that there exists some separate mathematical reality.

Therefore the HIGHEST moral requirement for demonstration of construction is in the domain of economics wherein the greatest externalities are caused by economic policy.



Praxeology as Operationalism

“[I]f we cast Praxeology a failed attempt at constructing the economic equivalent of Operationalism in physics, Operationism in psychology, and Intuitionism in mathematics, all of which are tests of the existential possibility of premises, then we can rescue praxeology from the domain of pseudoscience, and instead, use it as an additional moral constraint on scientific argument: that no economic statement can be testified to be true, unless it can be constructed from sympathetically testable human operations. As such, praxeology is an extension of falsification within the scientific method: a form of criticism, wherein all premises are suspect, and as such, so are all deductions. And only through logical, empirical, and operational criticism can we warrant that our theory stands sufficient scrutiny for us to claim without moral hazard, that it may be true.” – Curt Doolittle


Macro Economic Phenomenon are Emergent and Explainable but not Deducible

[M]acro economic phenomenon are emergent, not deducible. They are often explainable. And the discipline of macro economics attempts to explain those phenomenon. Yet many phenomenon are still not yet explainable. Although rapid increase in economics in the past twenty years has improved the field dramatically.

Any given price for example, is often not explainable. Nor did we nor could we have deduced the stickiness of prices. Nor can we deduce the time frame of phenomenon.

It is true for example that in the long run, money may be neutral, but that does not mean that interference in the supply of money cannot be used to create beneficial temporary advantages even if they are neutralized over time.

It is true that unemployment will increase with minimum wages, but the reasons for this are not those proposed by cosmopolitan-Austrians. They are because people lose the possibility of entry into the work force when they are young and become permanently unemployable. Empirical evidence does not support the assumption that minor increases are statistically meaningful. Only that, say, in the french model, do we see statistically meaningful permanent unemployment.

So, emergent phenomenon are not deducible. They are instrumentally and empirically observable. And once observed may be explained by deduction. But this is indifferent from physical phenomenon, where phenomenon are emergent.

But to say that we can deduce all economic activity – all human action – from first principles is demonstrably false. We cannot.

To say that we can deduce all mathematical phenomenon, logical phenomenon, physical phenomenon from first principles is demonstrably false.

At scale, beyond our perceptions, we must rely upon empirical evidence for observation, instrumentation to obtain that evidence, and deduction to theorize the construction of those phenomenon.

The false-flag, straw-man argument against empiricism, states that we must be able to run tests, thereby constructing data sets, rather than merely observe phenomenon and explain that phenomenon. But science does not practice empiricism. It practices the scientific method. And physical science takes this experimental approach only to discover first principles, not to analyze emergent phenomenon. Red shift is not something we need to create conditions for, it is something we must simply observe.

Conversely, experimentally constructed evidence is LESS reliable than naturally occurring evidence. So experimentation is a means of creating conditions for observation. Observation is what is required for analysis.

Likewise, we do not need to discover the first principles of man, but we must discover and explain the emergent phenomenon of man’s actions.

And even in those cases where we can construct a very loose economic principle, that does not mean that we cannot take action to alter the interstitial conditions and conduct experiments upon how we can effect those conditions and for how long. The Keynesian argument is that even if the Austrian business cycle is true, the good obtained in the interim is worth the risk, because states under fiat currency – unless they overextend by war and shock – cannot fail and become insolvent.

In any and all cases of the anti-scientific arguments put forth by the rothbardian rationalists I will easily demonstrate that each case is a straw man argument.

Because that is the technique of Critique: the marxist and cosmopolitan device of creating a straw man argument that is sufficiently obscurant that it is possible to load, frame, and overload the average, and even above average human mind.

It is the greatest form of deception ever constructed by man.

While we can look back in awe at monotheism as a great deception for the purpose of imposing authoritarian rule – despite its absurdity. And while we can look back in awe at how successful the marxists were. We can also grasp that libertinism (the cosmopolitan wing of Austrian economics) is yet another instance of the same technique: create an unbelievable lie, repeat it, and defend it with straw men. Libertinism is merely cosmopolitan separatism in new dress. It didnt’ work, it wont work, and it can’t work.

Libertines cannot hold land. And he who holds land determines the basis of law. That is an inescapable law of human action.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


We Never Know Anything. We Just Try. We Learn What Works.

[T]his is why the rationalist argument is a straw man. Critical Rationalism won. In propertarianism I focus on truthful speech as an IMPROVEMENT on critical rationalism’s narrow focus in the absence of ethical and moral constraints (imposed costs, such as creating a hazard). So operationalism is an existential test – a further criticism, on top of falsification, that is necessary when we speak of matters that may impose costs upon one another.

I can never know that I speak the ultimate truth, but I can know if I speak truthfully (morally). I can warranty truthful speech but I cannot warrant a statement is true.

And in publishing information into the commons I am distributing a product which may do harm or good. And I can be held accountable for unwarrantable speech, or unwarranted speech, but if I have warrantied my speech I cannot be held accountable in law for the negative consequences of it.

Conversely, if I did, then I CAN be held accountable for it.

So it is by these means I have tried to:

….(a) Extend critical rationalism by adding the additional requirement of operational description – something scientists already do but outside of psychology do not recognize as necessary criticism, and something that is necessary for all political questions, since only political questions require by definition transfers.

….(b) Redefine the scientific method as the method of speaking truthfully (warrantably).

….(c) Incorporate the principle of the voluntary exchange of property as the only test of moral action.


Under universal standing each of us can protect his or her commons from lies, cheats, socialization of losses, privatization of gains, and even the use and abuse of others – we an all act as sheriffs. We cannot resort to political favoritism.

The only problem is in creating judges. And we seem to be far better at creating judges than economists and philosophers.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


Hoppe’s Misrepresentation of Empiricism

“This is empiricism’s central claim: Empirical knowledge must be verifiable or falsifiable by experience; and analytical knowledge, which is not so verifiable or falsifiable, thus cannot contain any empirical knowledge. If this is true, then it is fair to ask: What then is the status of this fundamental statement of empiricism? Evidently it must be either analytical or empirical.” ~Hans/Hermann Hoppe

—“Logic is powerful enough to expose weak arguments, wouldn’t you say?”— Bruce Koerber 

—“Curt Doolittle, can you provide a counter to this? At first glance it appears impenetrable.”— Pattern Principle

[N]othing like asking me to answer a very hard problem in philosophy. I can answer it. But whether it is digestible or not is something else

To begin with, It’s a straw man argument; which is why its deceptively simple. No one makes the claim that empirical knowledge is the only kind of knowledge we can possess. No one. Rather, only philosophers do, none still do, and scientists certainly don’t.  

One of the reasons why you are misunderstood is that you tend not to confront the topics you deal with head on.Hoppe is a justificationist and so he mines a particular weakness of justificationist empiricism. One you jettison justification, his “argument collapses”- Ayelam Valentine Agaliba
(Worse, he equates science with empiricism, and empiricism with positivism.)

And economists do not claim to be philosophers, they claim to be scientists. It is one thing to say philosophers (rationalists) say such a thing and another to say scientists, and in particular economic scientists, would say such a thing (they don’t).

Instead, they say that we cannot trust our reason except in the most trivial of cases: those at experiential human scale. And the discipline of economics is by definition one beyond experiential human scale, or we would not need prices with which to coordinate our efforts, or property to provide us with incentives – we could just ‘sense it’. But we can’t.

Instead, we say that, depending upon the domain of inquiry, we require logical(rational), empirical(correspondent), and operational (existentially demonstrable) trials to test our theories, because theories are prone to contain imaginary and erroneous information that must be held separate from causal information. In this sense, we do not create theories justifiably or reasonably, we instead come to theories however we do, and we criticize them by logical, empirical, operational, and falsificational means.

Examples: in mathematics the means of investigation and the means of proof are nearly identical. But some mathematical deductions are not constructible, so intuitionism requires that once a solution is obtained by whatever means, we go back and explain it operationally, demonstrating that it can be actually constructed by means of possible mathematical operations.

In economics, we can make empirical observations, but until we go through and describe them as a series of human actions each of which is sympathetically testable then we do not know that the theory is true even if it always produces correlative results.
in physics we do not know the first principles of the physical world as we do in mathematics (mathematical operations), or in economics (rational human actions in response to stimuli), so we must describe the act of taking the measurements themselves in order to ensure that we are not adding imaginary content to our theories.

The end of rationalism occurred when Einstein demonstrated that we cannot even take the concepts of time and length for granted in our premises. Bridgman demonstrated that the only want to know when we have crossed the limit of arbitrary precision assumed in the premises of our theories is when we operationally construct them – since repetition of the operations in the new context will expose the failure of prior assumptions. Popper’s falsificationism is an incomplete attempt to demonstrate that falsification is necessary to ‘narrow’ more parsimonious (precise) statements, and that criticism is the means of narrowing theories to ever greater degrees of precision.

The only thing particularly interesting about economics is that because all human beings are able to cooperate by sympathy with intent, we can also judge whether incentives are rational (with very imprecise limits). As such we are able to subjectively test economic statements for rationality (decidability is the correct term).

Now once we have stumbled upon a theory, in order to make a truth claim, we must demonstrate that some subset of this set of tests have been satisfied: in other words, we must warranty our statements in order to claim that we speak the truth.

0) Sensible (intuitively possible)
1) Meaningfully Expressible ( as an hypothesis )
2) Internally Consistent (logically consistent – rational)
3) Externally Correspondent, and Falsifiable ( physically testable – correlative)
4) Existentially Possible (operationally construct-able/observable)
5) Voluntarily “Choose-able” (voluntary exchange / rational choice)
6) Market-Survivable (criticism – theory )
7) Market Irrefutable (law)
8) Irrefutable under Original Experience (Perceivable Truth)
9) Ultimately Parsimonious Description (Analytic Truth)
10) Informationally Complete and Tautologically Identical (Platonic Truth – Imaginary)

..yet not all theoretical systems necessitate most of these claims. In economics for example, we must satisfy 5, but in mathematics we solve this same problem by the axiom of choice (adding additional information), and in physics it’s meaningless.

But the net is that if ‘knowledge’ refers to truth claims, and if all non-tautological premises are context dependent – a degree of precision – (they are), and if we cannot know the boundaries of that precision (we can’t), then all premises are theoretical(they are), and if all knowledge is then theoretical (it is) and the means of discovery are irrelevant (they are), and operational construction is instead the test of true statements, not the statements themselves, (it is), and if economic principles must be operationally constructed – praxeologically – (they must), yet not all emergent phenomenon are deducible (they aren’t) and the degree of arbitrary precision available to economic theories is extremely limited (it is), then instrumentation is necessary to measure phenomenon within the limits of arbitrary precision (it is), and minor actions will produce uncertain effects within the boundaries of arbitrary precision (they do), and that we can experiment within those bounds (we can and do). (In fact all human action takes place within the universe’s boundaries – which is why we can act in the first place.)

Now that said, no scientist says that only empirical knowledge is true, we say only that man’s reason is frail and we require instrumentation to test it. It is irrelevant how we come to a theory, and irrelevant if we can justify it if it works, but it is through criticism that we progressively increase the content of a theory until it is the most parsimonious that we can manage for the context we consider, given the logical and physical tools at our disposal.

Now, in Propertarianism I argue that scientists discovered the means of truth telling, and that philosophers(rationalists) did not – instead I argue -which isnt very hard given the twentieth century- most often, that philosophers are usually the best liars. And that the weakness in scientific argument is, that as producers of a luxury good, scientists ignore costs in the description of their theories. Whereas in economics we consider costs. So by adding our understanding of costs back into the scientific method, we discover that it’s the best truth-telling method in general that we have discovered. And that by struggling to speak the truth scientists made dramatic progress in all of their fields. This is why the scientific method is not a method, but a set of moral prescriptions for what we may claim to truthfully say and what not.

Conversely, rationalism has been used systemically to create the most complex and destructive lies and pseudosciences known to man – most of which are moral, legal political and economic. Because it is profitable to create complex lies in those industries just as it is (often, not always) unprofitable to create complex lies in science. It’s just that by the time someone figures it out in economics and politics, the opportunity to correct it has passed, while in science their is no expiration date on the damage that can be done to one’s reputation (capital of scientists).

So it is not just that we can come to knowledge by any means possible and criticize it by all necessary means available to us, but that rationalism has been used to lie and steal and murder more than any other discipline and that it is far more error prone than truth telling, and truth telling is a very hard thing to do.

It is one thing to say ‘this works’ or “i can say this’ and it is another to say that you are speaking it truthfully: meaning scientifically. When you speak scientifically it is possible to be fairly certain your statements are truthful, and when you speak rationally we know only that they may be meaningful, but not necessarily truthful (scientific.)

The world has adopted scientific language as the language of truth speaking in all fields, almost entirely because it is less prone to deception and error than rationalism.

So in my work, I want to take what is useful from Hoppe: the reduction of all moral propositions to property rights – but I feel I must rescue liberty from the language of liars, thieves, mystics, and authoritarianism, and translate it into scientific language: the language of truth-speaking: science.

Because while you may not be aware of it, the central reason for western superiority was our discovery of truth telling. No one else did it. And it is the reason the west separated from the rest.

Truth speaking creates trust, trust reduces transaction costs, reduced transaction costs create economic velocity, economic velocity creates prosperity, prosperity gives us choices, and the greatest variety of choices means the satisfaction of the most subjective values.

Truth is very expensive. It is the most expensive normative commons in the world.

And that is why it is so rare.

All non tautological knowledge is theoretical and contextual, and we determine what we can testify to by criticizing it, not by the means of obtaining it. The means of obtaining it is irrelevant.

Economics, like all disciplines that investigate that which is beyond human scales of perception is a ratio-empirical discipline because we cannot observe phenomenon without instrumentation and measures, and we cannot test internal consistency without reason. The correct interpretation of praxeology is that all observable phenomenon must be open to rational construction by the decisions and actions of human beings. This applies to all disciplines. Without exception. The general hypothesis of Austrians is that distortionary activity is amplified and extended in time. this appears to be true, but at a very imprecise level and the current debate is over the trade-offs, which is why it remains unsettled. But the empirical investigation into economic phenomenon within that degree of precision (which is enormously imprecise) is necessary, and by any and all definitions, scientific. Interference in such an economy is immoral, but it is scientific, and investigation of interstitial phenomenon it is scientific. Not all phenomenon (regular patterns) are deducible from first principles, however, they must be explainable by means of deduction once discovered to be claimed as truthful.

I think i should have done a fair job of criticizing the straw man argument, providing the explanation for the fundamental questions of how science rather than the straw man of ‘empiricism’ operates, demonstrating the importance of it, and why I am working so hard to convert Hoppe’s rationalism into scientific argument – to protect it from irrelevant nonsense arguments and justifiable marginalization. I had only a few hours to work on this on and off, and I can probably improve it. But I promise that I am very good at what I do and if you work with it, you should find it very helpful. If not and I failed you I am sorry but I will keep trying to simplify the arguments further over time.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev Ukraine