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Making use of the past: theorists and historians on the economics of altruism

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  • Philippe Fontaine

Abstract

While deriving their explanation of positive utility interdependence from Edgeworth's presupposition that concern for others' welfare varies with the 'social distance' between individuals, economic theorists have overlooked both Smith's idea that sympathy can also develop on the basis of empathy and Wicksteed's idea that sympathy and altruism operate on different levels of analysis. In retrieving past ideas that have not been followed up in the modern theories of altruism, historians of economics should be able not only to shed some light on the main stages in its development but also to show that its achievements cannot be assessed independently of its limits.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 407-422

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:7:y:2000:i:3:p:407-422

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Keywords: Altruism Empathy Sympathy Smith Edgeworth Wicksteed;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Antoci Angelo & Sabatini Fabio & Sodini Mauro, 2010. "The Solaria Syndrome: Social capital in a growing hypertechnological economy," wp.comunite 0062, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  2. Fabio Sabatini & Angelo Antoci & Mauro Sodini, 2009. "The Fragility of Social Capital," Working Papers 2009.16, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2007. "Normative Issues In Marginalism: The Case Of P. Wicksteed," MPRA Paper 6684, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Alain Marciano, 2007. "Economists on Darwin's theory of social evolution and human behaviour," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 681-700.

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