About the Course
This course covers Part II of Human Action. It is not required to have taken Human Action, Part I before taking this course.
In this course, some of the most important concepts in Human Action are examined. Mises asked a profound question: what is the basis of human society? He found the answer in social cooperation. Human beings gain more from peaceful exchange than from destructive struggles, and Mises made this fundamental fact the basis of his social theory.
Social cooperation through the free market makes possible the division of labor. Trade and specialization are keys to continued prosperity. The course covers Mises’s brilliant extension of David Ricardo’s law of comparative cost into a more general law of association.
The course also examines Mises’s account of the role of ideas in history, his refutation of collectivist and holistic accounts of society, and his explanation of calculative action. The course does not presuppose any previous knowledge of Human Action.
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All readings will be free and online. A fully hyper-linked syllabus with readings for each weekly topic will be available for all students.
The chapters of Human Action covered are as follows:
ACTION WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF SOCIETY
- Human Cooperation (p. 143)
- A Critique of the Holistic and Metaphysical View of Society (p. 145)
- The Division of Labor (p. 157)
- The Ricardian Law of Association (p. 159)
- The Effects of the Division of Labor (p. 164)
- The Individual Within Society (p. 165)
- The Great Society (p. 169)
- The Instinct of Aggression and Destruction (p. 170)
- Human Reason (p. 177)
- World View and Ideology (p. 178)
- Might (p. 187)
- Meliorism and the Idea of Progress (p. 191)
- Autistic Exchange and Interpersonal Exchange (p. 194)
- Contractual Bonds and Hegemonic Bonds (p. 195)
- Calculative Action (p. 198)
Independent study courses are courses that were presented live in the past. These courses are now offered at a discount to anyone who wants to study independently. All courses include lecture recordings, slides, a complete hyper-linked syllabus, automatically-graded quizzes, and a discussion forum. Professors are not available for academic support for these independent study courses.