When faced with the nuclear questions of all the sciences, including the Economy, and in turn to enhance a good policy in our managerial, political or personal government, it is important to remember the motto on the frontispiece of the temple of Delfos that Socrates made his own: “Know yourself.” Socrates recommended everywhere (speaking, dialoguing, without writing) reflection in the search for authentic happiness (in short for success), in moral conduct that centred in the individual person and no longer in the collective. As the professor Fernando Prieto explains very well in his History of Ideas and Political Forms: “Faced with scepticism and the Sophists’ relativism, Socrates’ anti-Sophist position is based on the belief that there is moral truth, a moral objective that can be completely known, that is to say that you can build science from morals, which presupposes the previous statement that science in general is possible. The defence of possibility of science is the basis of Socratic thought, that is to say the certain knowledge of the truth, contrary to the Sophists.”
Following the Socratic wisdom it is important to emphasize that we do not fall into a serious intellectual error: to doubt everything in true Descartes style and, furthermore, in a methodical and voluntary way on principle. Doubting as a principle and with the Cartesian certainty that we only exist ourselves leads us, in fact, to deny the evidence of the existence of truth, goodness, value, kindness, freedom, everything. Doubt in another sense, applied to personal statements, as a certain scepticism toward our ” truths “, prints a convenient moderator ticket that allows us to remember that we are always more or less close to the truth or, better still, more or less full of errors everywhere. One can, even one should, doubt the real ” truth ” in this sense, but what one cannot doubt is the existence applied to the objective truth. If we deny the real existence of truth we are closing the doors to the existence of science; of all science. The science of the Economy doesn’t exist, nor of Politics, Law, Ethics, Physics, Medicine, or Mathematics. Education has no meaning. If I do not try to teach something that I believe comes closer to the truth and, therefore, to the good and valuable, why teach at any level? Why have formation? What meaning do the scientific debates have if the truth does not exist? Why read this economic newspaper or that newspaper of general information? Why listen? Sincerely I think that it is a serious intellectual error. I am not referring to questions of faith nor feelings. I am referring to questions of intellectual audacity. Our modern world, so scientific, economic, and managerial, has the intellectual complex of doubting the existence of the truth on principle. I sincerely do not believe that the truth exists. Simply: I am sure with intellectual conviction. Many thinkers in all times, and of undoubted worth, have contributed rational proof of its existence and which we can make ours. I am not saying that we completely know the truth, which of course would be impossible. I simply refer to its existence. To deny it is an important theoretical and practical error. Whoever denies the evidence is lying. If they say that a lie repeated a thousand times can become true, the truth, only repeated a hundred times, drowns the previous lie. The truth is much more attractive than a lie. But it is important to repeat it these days everywhere, whether the opportunity arises or not.
If we do not fall into error and we work on the hypothesis of existence of the truth (although we ignore it in so many aspects) then investigation, formation and scientific dialogue already make sense. Karl Popper, in 1968 in Burgos, in a conversation with Pedro Schwartz, affirmed, “it is very important that we don’t abandon rational discussion; and rational discussion is developed under the ideal regulator of the truth, the ideal that we want to get closer to the truth. This idea is the one that makes our discussion rational.” In this way we open up the horizon to the existence of Ethics, the Economy, Law or Politics as sciences. We can then discover and go as pioneers into an open sea of universal laws and free general principles that are useful and applicable for any time or place, and for all humans without discrimination of race, nationality, ideology or historical time in which their activity develops. The Economy and the theory of management of companies are framed this way, as Von Mises indicated continually, among the sciences of human action. Then we have to meditate and try to discover the essence of human action to deduce those universal theorems. The only form of glimpsing those theorems is by means of logical study of our inherent knowledge about the conceptual category of human action. Although thousands of years have passed since Socrates made “Know yourself” his motto, the issue continues to prevail, and it is more difficult to avoid.