19. “Action-Based Jurisprudence: Praxeological Legal Theory in Relation to Economic Theory, Ethics, and Legal Practice”


Abstract: Action-based legal theory is a discrete branch of praxeology and the basis of an emerging school of jurisprudence related to, but distinct from, natural law. Legal theory and economic theory share content that is part of praxeology itself: the action axiom, the a priori of argumentation, universalizable property theory, and counterfactual-deductive methodology. Praxeological property-norm justification is separate from the strictly ethical “ought” question of selecting ends in an action context. Examples of action-based jurisprudence are found in existing “Austro-libertarian” literature. Legal theory and legal practice must remain distinct and work closely together if justice is to be found in real cases. Legal theorizing was shaped in religious ethical contexts, which contributed to confused field boundaries between law and ethics. The carrot and stick influence of rulers on theorists has distorted conventional economics and jurisprudence in particular directions over the course of centuries. An action-based approach is relatively immune to such sources of distortion in its methods and conclusions, but has tended historically to be marginalized from conventional institutions for this same reason.


  1. This is brilliant.

    Edit: Konrad Graf delivers a talk (http://youtu.be/M8NcrMVV27M) addressing Action-Based Jurisprudence at the Australian Mises Seminar in 2012. The full text transcript with slides can be absorbed here (http://konradsgraf.com/storage/ABJ%20in%20Sydney%20document%20version.pdf). The talk has six sub-headings:

    — The problem of rights violating rights protectors [1:22]
    — Differentiating law and ethics [10:47]
    — Three core legal theory modules [18:35]
    — The full range of responses to aggression [33:56]
    — Consistently rights-protecting legal institutions [39:12]
    — Who wins and loses from misplaced complexity? [46:36]

    There are several questions at the end of the presentation. As usual the above was brilliant. A listing of more timestamps are available in the video description. The paper I mentioned in the introduction is the one above. This is the most cutting edge article on Austro-Libertarianism that exists today.


  1. […] (Graf, LIBERTARIAN PAPERS 3, 19 (2011), page 23.) […]

  2. […] Graf, “Action-Based Jurisprudence: Praxeological Legal Theory in Relation to Economic Theory, Ethics, and L…,” Libertarian Papers 3, 19 (Aug. 13, […]

  3. […] year, “The dawning of a realization,” in which he discusses a theme I brought out in Action-Based Jurisprudence (2011) regarding the need to broaden the application of praxeology beyond economics. This includes […]

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