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Jevons's Debt to Bentham: Mathematical Economy, Morals and Psychology

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  • Sigot, Nathalie

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to show that Jevons's utilitarianism is to be related to his attempt to build a mathematical theory of economics: the felicific calculus provides the instrument for transforming sensations into quantities. The first section shows that Jevons referred to Bentham's calculus but made it much simpler to enable the mathematical instrument to be introduced. The second section is devoted to his rejection of Mill's attempt to make utilitarianism a morally reasonable philosophy by introducing qualities of feelings. But I endeavour to show that avoiding Mill's interpretation did not mean that Jevons gave up on moral matters. Copyright 2002 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester

Suggested Citation

  • Sigot, Nathalie, 2002. "Jevons's Debt to Bentham: Mathematical Economy, Morals and Psychology," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(2), pages 262-278, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:70:y:2002:i:2:p:262-78
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanoel De Oliveira Boff, 2014. "Governing Economic Life: W. S. Jevons And The Birth Of Liberal Biopolitics In Victorian England," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41st Brazilian Economics Meeting] 015, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. Jimena Hurtado & Johanna Mick, 2011. "Utilitarianism and Economic Behavior. Looking for Benthamite Traces," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 009251, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. repec:zna:indecs:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:88-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jimena Hurtado, 2005. "The Utilitarian Foundations Of The Economic Approach To Human Behavior," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003633, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Katalin Martinás, 2012. "Greatest Happiness Principle in a Complex System Approach," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 10(2), pages 88-102.
    6. A. Baujard, 2006. "From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism : A step back to Bentham’s felicific calculus of its members," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200606, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    7. Floris Heukelom, 2007. "Kahneman and Tversky and the Origin of Behavioral Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-003/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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