The Moral Case for the Free Market Economy: A Philosophical Argument

by Tibor R. Machan

Machan argues that it is inappropriate to regard the mechanistic viewpoint as the scientific way of looking at human life. Machan proposes that we reject this as our model of proper science which is, after all, extrapolated from one of the natural sciences, mechanics, and imported into the human social sciences.

It is clearly possible to argue with this extrapolation, and maintain that there may be a scientific approach to human life which is non-mechanistic, which does not demand that human behavior be accounted for in the same way as the behavior be accounted for in the same way as the behavior of rocks or plants or even animals is accounted for. So we do not need to grant the currently purely mechanistic (positivist or even evolutionist) economic model of understanding human affairs the status of being the only scientific account.

One of the difficulties of challenging this economic case for capitalism is precisely that the scientistic — to be distinguished from the scientific — approach to everything in nature, including human nature, has had such a hold on the intellectual community.