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Ethics and economics in Karl Menger: how did social sciences cope with Hilbertism

This paper deals with the contributions made to the social sciences by the mathematician Karl Menger (1902-1985), the son of the more famous economist, Carl Menger. Mathematician and a logician, he focused on whether it was possible to explain the social order in formal terms.1 He stressed the need to find the appropriate means with which to treat them, avoiding recourse to historical descriptions, which are unable to yield social laws. He applied Hilbertism to economics and ethics in order to build an axiomatic and formalized model of the individual behavior and the dynamics of social groups.

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Paper provided by University of Turin in its series CESMEP Working Papers with number 200905.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uto:cesmep:200905
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  1. Robert J. Leonard, 1993. "From Von Neumann to Nash: Economics, Game Theory and Social Process," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9313, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  2. Golland, Louise Ahrndt, 1996. "Formalism in Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 1-12, March.
  3. Philip Mirowski, 1992. "What Were von Neumann and Morgenstern Trying to Accomplish?," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 113-147, Supplemen.
  4. Robert J. Leonard, 1993. "Reason, Ethics and Rigour: Morgenstern, Menger, and Mathematical Economics, 1928 - 1944," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9403, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  5. Cornides, Thomas, 1983. "Karl Menger's contributions to social thought," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 1-11, October.
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