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L'a priori et l'a posteriori en économie

  • Philippe Mongin

A previous article investigated the semantic distinction between the analytical and the synthetic, and applied it to microeconomics; in the present one, the fundamental propositions of this field come to terms with the epistemological distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori (or empirical), while an attempt is made to systematize the four concepts. After restating the Kantian definition of the a priori and the famous problem of the synthetic a priori, we introduce two major interpretations of fundamental propositions, i.e., empiricism (as illustrated by the English classical school) and apriorism (as illustrated by von Mises within the Austrian neoclassical school). We rebut both interpretations, the latter with more detail than the former.We conclude that the fundamental propositions are synthetic but neither a priori, nor a posteriori, a category which evades standard divisions. We defend this novel interpretation by studying the law of diminishing returns and the convexity assumption for production sets.

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Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Recherches économiques de Louvain.

Volume (Year): 73 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 5-53

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Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_731_0005
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  1. Mongin, P., 1998. "Does Optimization Imply Rationality?," Papers 9817, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  2. Philippe Mongin, 2003. "L'axiomatisation et les théories économiques," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(1), pages 99-138.
  3. Debreu, Gerard, 1993. "Existence of competitive equilibrium," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 697-743 Elsevier.
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