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From Sensory to Positivist Utilitarianism and Back -- The Rehabilitation of Naturalistic Conjectures in the Theory of Demand

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  • U. Witt

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Abstract

Demand theory grew out of the revision of utilitarianism. The original, Benthamite program – based on a naturalistic, hedonic interpretation of behavior – was replaced by an abstract, subjectivist approach, a motivational mechanics. The implications – expressed exclusively in observable quantities, prices, and incomes – were developed in demand theory. The paper discusses major steps and consequences of the revision together with more recent partial revocations and attempts at reintroducing a naturalistic interpretation. The latter can be enhanced, it is argued, by integrating the (non-utilitarian) theory of wants, a long-standing, but currently much neglected, source of empirical reflections on the motivations of economic behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • U. Witt, 2005. "From Sensory to Positivist Utilitarianism and Back -- The Rehabilitation of Naturalistic Conjectures in the Theory of Demand," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2005-07
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    Cited by:

    1. Binder, Martin, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics and Moral Relativism - Some Thoughts," MPRA Paper 1484, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Beaudreau, Bernard C., 2012. "A humanistic theory of economic behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 222-234.
    3. Safarzyńska, Karolina, 2013. "Evolutionary-economic policies for sustainable consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 187-195.
    4. repec:spr:comaot:v:23:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10588-016-9230-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Richard Nelson & Davide Consoli, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of household consumption behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 665-687, October.
    6. Carlos M. Fernández-Márquez & Francisco Fatas-Villafranca & Francisco J. Vázquez, 2017. "A computational consumer-driven market model: statistical properties and the underlying industry dynamics," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 319-346, September.
    7. Viktor J. Vanberg, 2007. "Rationality, Rule-Following and Emotions: On the Economics of Moral Preferences," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-21, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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