Mathematical Psychics and Hydraulics: The Methodological Influence of Edgeworth and Fisher
The scientific methodology of classical physics has been a constant influence in the development of orthodox economics. Clear signs of this can be found in the works of many classical economists such as Smith, Say, Cairnes and Mill. The physics influence became more apparent with the emergence of marginalism. The economic thought of F. Y. Edgeworth, however, is the peak of the influence of classical physics to economics. In Edgeworth’s Mathematical Psychics, the identification of maximum energy in physics with that of the maximum pleasure in economic calculus, is central in his thought. In the same manner, I. Fisher, the founder of marginalism in the US, promoted a classical physics based economic methodology. The close analogy of physics and economics concepts and the application of tools from hydrodynamics to economic theory, are basic characteristics of his work. These views eventually dominated orthodox economic methodology. The paper argues that, apart from establishing the physics scientific ideal in economics, both of these authors provided the methodological justification for its adoption in economics. It also examines their subsequent influence on the formation of the current methodological approach in orthodox economics. In particular, it discusses their influence on key components of current mainstream economics such as: extensive use of mathematics, aversion to methodological discourse and anti-psychologism.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2014|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Drakopoulos, S. A., 1997.
"Origins and Development of the Trend Toward Value-Free Economics,"
Journal of the History of Economic Thought,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 286-300, September.
- Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 1997. "Origins and Development of the Trend towards Value-Free Economics," MPRA Paper 15245, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Dow, Sheila, 2002. "Economic Methodology: An Inquiry," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198776123, April.
- Alberto Baccini, 2007. "Edgeworth on the foundations of ethics and probability," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 79-96.
- Alberto Baccini, 2004. "Edgeworth on the Foundations of Ethics and Probability," Department of Economics University of Siena 427, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1998. "How Foundations Came to Be," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1375-1386, September.
- Mill, John Stuart, 1874. "Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, number mill1874.
- Salim Rashid, 1994. "John von Neumann, scientific method and empirical economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 279-294.
- Debreu, Gerard, 1991. "The Mathematization of Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 1-7, March.
- Shira B. Lewin, 1996. "Economics and Psychology: Lessons for Our Own Day from the Early Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1293-1323, September.
- Luigino Bruni & Francesco Guala, 2001. "Vilfredo Pareto and the Epistemological Foundations of Choice Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 21-49, Spring.
- John Creedy, 1980. "Some Recent Interpretations of Mathematical Psychics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 267-276, Summer.
- Hoover, Kevin D, 1995. "Why Does Methodology Matter for Economics? Review Article," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 715-734, May.
- Mirowski, Philip, 1984. "Physics and the 'Marginalist Revolution.'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(4), pages 361-379, December.
- Roger Backhouse, 2010. "Methodology in action," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 3-15.
- Michael McLure, 2010. "Pareto, Pigou and third-party consumption: divergent approaches to welfare theory with implications for the study of public finance," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 635-657.
- Beed, Clive & Kane, Owen, 1991. "What Is the Critique of the Mathematization of Economics?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 581-612.
- Cairnes, John E., 1888. "The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, number cairnes1888.
- Ben B. Seligman, 1969. "The Impact of Positivism on Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 256-278, Fall.
- D. Wade Hands, 2002. "Economic methodology is dead - long live economic methodology: thirteen theses on the new economic methodology," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 49-63.
- Jevons, William Stanley, 1871. "The Theory of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number jevons1871.
- Turk, Michael H., 2012. "The Mathematical Turn In Economics: Walras, The French Mathematicians, And The Road Not Taken," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 149-167, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52981. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.