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Edgeworth on the foundations of ethics and probability

  • Alberto Baccini
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    The paper analyses the foundation of utilitarian ethics and theory of probability in the works of Francis Y. Edgeworth. It is argued that he pursued a unitary philosophical project: the search for a common epistemological foundation for the social sciences. Their common root is the idea of 'hereditary experience' derived from Herbert Spencer's work. This idea justified Edgeworth's adoption of the notion of the man as a 'pleasure machine', which was necessary to solve the maximization problems in ethics and economics; and the enlargement of the frequentist definition of probability, necessary for the development of his statistical theory.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09672560601168447
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 79-96

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:14:y:2007:i:1:p:79-96
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    1. Alberto Baccini, 2004. "High pressure and black clouds: Keynes and the frequentist theory of probability," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 653-666, September.
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