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Sraffa, Wittgenstein and Neoclassical Economics


  • Davis, J B


The intellectual interaction of Piero Sraffa and Ludwig Wittgenstei n in the late 1920s is examined. Sraffa's critical treatment of themes in Wittgenstein's Tractatus is related to the former's 1926 "Laws of Returns" article and argued to have precipitated in part the latter's change in philosophy. Wittgenstein's later conclusions are argued to be applicable to the neoclassical account of preferences, such that Sraffa's original critique appears reformulated from the 1926 examination of partial equilibrium analysis in the Wittgensteinian argument against autonomy of preferences. A critique of atomistic individualism underlies Sraffa's thinking in the original interaction with Wittgenstein. Copyright 1988 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, J B, 1988. "Sraffa, Wittgenstein and Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 29-36, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:12:y:1988:i:1:p:29-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John Davis, 2002. "Gramsci, Sraffa, Wittgenstein: philosophical linkages," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 384-401.
    2. Mathieu Marion, 2005. "Sraffa and Wittgenstein: Physicalism and constructivism," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 381-406.
    3. Rodolfo Signorino, 2000. "Method and analysis in Piero Sraffa's 1925 critique of Marshallian economics," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 569-594.
    4. Nuno Ornelas Martins, 2012. "Mathematics, Science and the Cambridge Tradition," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-2, December.

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