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The Mathematical Turn In Economics: Walras, The French Mathematicians, And The Road Not Taken

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  • TURK, MICHAEL H.

Abstract

One of the pivotal moments in the move toward mathematizing economics occurred at the turn of the twentieth century, with Leon Walras as perhaps its most ardent champion. Yet, there is no small irony here, in that the leading French mathematicians to whom Walras turned to buttress and defend the case for a mathematical economics, especially Henri Poincare and Emile Picard, laid out reservations to the scope of this mathematizing program. They even pointed to matters, including the hold of the past on future events and hysteresis, a subject already in the discourse of mathematical physicists, which might have fashioned economics differently from the neoclassical mold being formed. This alternate pathway, though, was not pursued at the time.

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  • Turk, Michael H., 2012. "The Mathematical Turn In Economics: Walras, The French Mathematicians, And The Road Not Taken," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 149-167, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:34:y:2012:i:02:p:149-167_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandelin, Bo, 2015. "The Pioneers’ Arguments for Formulating Economic Problems Mathematically," Working Papers in Economics 633, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:bus:jphile:v:10:y:2016:i:1:n:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2014. "Mainstream Aversion to Economic Methodology and the Scientific Ideal of Physics," MPRA Paper 57222, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2014. "Mathematical Psychics and Hydraulics: The Methodological Influence of Edgeworth and Fisher," MPRA Paper 52981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Stavros A. DRAKOPOULOS, 2016. "Economic crisis, economic methodology and the scientific ideal of physics," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 10(1), pages 28-57, November.

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