Action axiom

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An action axiom is an axiom that embodies a criterion for recommending action. Action axioms are of the form "IF a condition holds, THEN the following should be done." Decision theory and, hence, decision analysis are based on the maximum expected utility (MEU) action axiom. In general, the principle for action embodied by an action axiom (such as MEU) is highly defensible, and its scope is very broad. The action-axiom is the basis of praxeology, and it is the basic proposition that all specimens of the species homo sapiens, the homo agens, purposefully utilize means over a period of time in order to achieve desired ends. In Human Action, Mises defined "action" in the sense of the action axiom by elucidating:

"Human action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego's meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life. Such paraphrases may clarify the definition given and prevent possible misinterpretations. But the definition itself is adequate and does not need complement of commentary."[1]


  1. Ludwig von Mises. Human Action, p. 11, "r. Purposeful Action and Animal Reaction". Referenced 2011-11-23.