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Francis Ysidro Edgeworth on the regularity of law and the impartiality of chance


  • Alberto Baccini



This paper proposes a general interpretation of Edgworth’s thought based on the recognition of a unitary philosophical project in his contributions to ethics, economics, probability and statistics. This project consists in the search for a common epistemological foundation for the social sciences. The point is illustrated in reference to the coexistence in Edgworthian scientific programme of the ‘regularity of law’ with the ‘impartiality of chance’. The interpretation here proposed challenges the traditional stereotypes according to which Edgeworth was a crass utilitarian, and an ingenuous advocate of a rather primitive neoclassical economics. His plea for the use of mathematics, and his choice of deterministic models for the description of the economic behaviour, appear more innovative when the role of probability is considered

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Baccini, 2007. "Francis Ysidro Edgeworth on the regularity of law and the impartiality of chance," Department of Economics University of Siena 493, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:493

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
    2. 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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    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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