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Keynes on Mathematics: Philosophical Foundations and Economic Applications



John Maynard Keynes's position on the role of mathematics and statistics in economics is quite sophisticated and differs markedly from the conventional view of preponderant hostility to the use of these methods. It is based on the twin proposition that formal methods have positive roles to play, but constrained domains of application. Keynes's hostility was aroused not by mathematics itself, but by pseudo-mathematics, or the failure to respect the nature and applicability of formal methods. Underlying Keynes's views is his distinctive philosophical framework, and the principle that logic (or philosophy) should precede and supervise the application of mathematics. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • O'Donnell, R M, 1990. "Keynes on Mathematics: Philosophical Foundations and Economic Applications," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 29-47, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:14:y:1990:i:1:p:29-47

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas R. Michl, 1988. "The Two-Stage Decline in U.S. Nonfinancial Corporate Profitability, 1948-1986," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 1-22, December.
    2. James Crotty, 2009. "Structural causes of the global financial crisis: a critical assessment of the 'new financial architecture'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 563-580, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Downward, "undated". "Risk, Uncertainty and Inference in Post Keynesian Economics:A Realist Commentary," Working Papers 98-8, Staffordshire University, Business School.
    2. Rod O'Donnell, 1992. "The Unwritten Books and Papers of J. M. Keynes," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 767-817, Winter.
    3. J. Barkley Rosser, 2001. "Alternative Keynesian and Post Keynesian Perspective on Uncertainty and Expectations," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 545-566, July.
    4. Muchlinski, Elke, 2011. "Die Rezeption der John Maynard Keynes Manuskripte von 1904 bis 1911. Anregungen für die deutschsprachige Diskussion," Discussion Papers 2011/7, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    5. J. Barkley Rosser, Jr, 2011. "Post Keynesian Perspectives And Complex Ecologic–Economic Dynamics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 96-121, February.

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