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further inference was that to maintain that all actions are physically caused is necessarily self-refuting – since maintaining a thesis is itself an action, and one cannot rationally maintain the thesis that it is never rational to maintain a thesis.  Anscombe’s reply was that one and the same action may have a reasons explanation under one description and a physical-cause explanation under another, so that reasons explanations and physical-cause explanations need not be competitors; in short, rather than regarding the three realms as mutually exclusive, Anscombe trats action as having a place in all three – as belonging, to employ more recent philosophical terminology, both to the space of reasons and to the space of causes.  (On Lewis’s behalf, however, it should be noted that there may be conceptual restrictions on what sorts of physical-cause explanations can apply to actions if reasons explanations are also to apply to them; in particular, reductionistic and deterministic varieties of physical-cause explanations might well have to be ruled out.)

6.Thompson and the Logic of Life

Another philosopher in the Wittgensteinian tradition whose work is relevant to Austrian concerns is Michael Thompson.  Praxeology purports to give us the essence of teleology, the logic of the means-end structure.  But teleology and means-end structures are found outside the realm of human action; they are a feature of living organisms in general.  What, then, is the relation between the kind of teleology we find in biology and the kind with which praxeology deals?

In his recent book Life and Action, Thompson argues that biological teleology is real, not just a metaphorical extension for purposive action; that it does not depend on any particular story (whether evolutionist or creationist) of how teleological traits first arose; and that its nature is a priori, not empirical – thus in effect forging yet another link between the outer realm and the third.  Moreover, just as Mises and Hayek show that no list of purely physical characteristics can settle whether a given interaction is a monetary exchange, so Thompson argues

R. T. Long – Wittgenstein, Praxeology, and Frege’s Three Realms – p. 20

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