‘Psychology and Thymology’

‘MANY AUTHORS believe that psychology is basic to the social sciences, even that it comprehends them all.

Insofar as psychology proceeds with the experimental methods of physiology, these claims are manifestly unwarranted. The problems investigated in the laboratories of the various schools of experimental psychology have no more reference to the problems of the sciences of human action than those of any other scientific discipline. Most of them are even of no use to praxeology, economics, and all the branches of history. In fact, nobody ever tried to show how the findings of naturalistic psychology could be utilized for any of these sciences..’


..People as a rule call this insight into the minds of other men psychology. Thus, they say a salesman ought to be a good psychologist, and a political leader should be an expert in mass psychology. This popular use of the term “psychology” must not be confused with the psychology of any of the naturalistic schools. When Dilthey and other epistemologists declared that history must be based on psychology, what they had in mind was this mundane or commonsense meaning of the term.

To prevent mistakes resulting from the confusion of these two entirely different branches of knowledge it is expedient to reserve the term “psychology” for naturalistic psychology and to call the knowledge of human valuations and volitions “thymology.” ‘

– Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History; Chapter 12 Psychology and Thymology