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Edgeworth on the Foundations of Ethics and Probability


  • Alberto Baccini



This paper analyses the foundation of utilitarian ethics and theory of probability in the works of Francis Y. Edgeworth. We argue that he pursued an unitary philosophical project, the search for a common epistemological foundation for the social sciences. The common root of the disciplines is the notion of “hereditary experience” derived from Herbert Spencer’s work. We suggest that this reconstruction can modify the overall interpretation of Edgeworth’s thought.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Baccini, 2004. "Edgeworth on the Foundations of Ethics and Probability," Department of Economics University of Siena 427, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:427

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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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    Cited by:

    1. Stavros Drakopoulos & Ioannis Katselidis, 2015. "From Edgeworth to econophysics: a methodological perspective," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 77-95, March.
    2. Tomoyuki Uemiya, 2008. "F.Y. Edgeworth’s Mathematical Psychics and his Utilitarianism: The Derivation from the ‘Sidgwick-Barratt Controversy’," Discussion Paper Series 37, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Mar 2008.
    3. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2014. "Mathematical Psychics and Hydraulics: The Methodological Influence of Edgeworth and Fisher," MPRA Paper 52981, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    F.Y. Edgeworth; Probability; Utilitarianism;

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General

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