Review of Nicola Giocoli (2003) 'Modelling Rational Agents: From Interwar Economics To Early Modern Game Theory'
AbstractGiocoli (2003) won awards from ESHET and, in its original form as Giocoli’s PhD thesis, from HES. It lives up to its promise. According to Giocoli, in the period between the 1890s and the 1980s a transformation took place in the way that economists thought about what it was that they were doing. The essence of this was a shift from a ‘systems of forces’ (SOF) to a ‘system of relations’ (SOR) view. The former focuses on economic forces including those leading to equilibrium, the latter on the properties of possible equilibria without consideration of the forces which might underpin them. The review agrees with Giocoli that this constituted a retrograde step: abstract, static mathematical rigour and formalism replace the attempt to understand real-world economic change. Linking the book to Mary Poovey’s (1998) “History of the Modern Fact”, the review welcomes the attempt to write ‘epistemological history’ of economics.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Method and Hist of Econ Thought with number 0410002.
Length: 5 pages
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2004
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history of economic thought; methodology; Neumann; Nash; epistemological history;
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