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Making use of the past: theorists and historians on the economics of altruism

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  • Philippe Fontaine

Abstract

While deriving their explanation of positive utility interdependence from Edgeworth's presupposition that concern for others' welfare varies with the 'social distance' between individuals, economic theorists have overlooked both Smith's idea that sympathy can also develop on the basis of empathy and Wicksteed's idea that sympathy and altruism operate on different levels of analysis. In retrieving past ideas that have not been followed up in the modern theories of altruism, historians of economics should be able not only to shed some light on the main stages in its development but also to show that its achievements cannot be assessed independently of its limits.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Fontaine, 2000. "Making use of the past: theorists and historians on the economics of altruism," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 407-422.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:7:y:2000:i:3:p:407-422
    DOI: 10.1080/09672560050192125
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dorian Jullien, 2016. "Under Uncertainty, Over Time and Regarding Other People: Rationality in 3D," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2012. "The Solaria syndrome: Social capital in a growing hyper-technological economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 802-814.
    3. Alain Marciano, 2007. "Economists on Darwin's theory of social evolution and human behaviour," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 681-700.
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2009. "The fragility of social capital," AICCON Working Papers 59-2009, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    5. Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Under Risk, Over Time, Regarding Other People: Language and Rationality Within Three Dimensions
      [Face au risque, dans le temps, par rapport aux autres : langage et rationalité dans trois dimensions
      ," Post-Print halshs-01651042, HAL.
    6. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2007. "Normative Issues In Marginalism: The Case Of P. Wicksteed," MPRA Paper 6684, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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