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During the twentieth century mathematics has expanded at an unprecedented rate. This expansion has been accompanied by the increased application of mathematics to science…
During the twentieth century mathematics has expanded at an unprecedented rate. This expansion has been accompanied by the increased application of mathematics to science. At a time when pure mathematics has been placing more and more emphasis on abstraction and the analysis of broad concepts there has been a corresponding proliferation of practical applications. This seems to have resulted from the fact that the sciences, too, have become more concerned with the discernment of general patterns in the study of nature. This search for simplifying ideas has increased the demand for ever more abstract tools of analysis.
Economic ideas are the product of contemplation, but also of our economic lives. In the history of ideas, Gérard Debreu’s shining book of 1959, Theory of Value, represents…
Economic ideas are the product of contemplation, but also of our economic lives. In the history of ideas, Gérard Debreu’s shining book of 1959, Theory of Value, represents the pinnacle of purity in contemplating economic life. Rather than contextualizing this oeuvre through his intellectual life, as is usually done, this essay describes his axiomatic analysis by contextualizing it through his economic life. What do we learn about Debreu’s axioms on consumption when thinking of his own consumption? What do we learn about his theory of value when thinking of his own values? Historiographically, this approach permits the use of a widely neglected source in the history of economics: anecdotes. Epistemologically, blending axioms and anecdotes offers a description of how axioms regulate an economic discourse. Finally, this essay offers a language for the material dimensions of economic life that are so underexposed in Debreu’s own work.
We commence answering the above questions first with an extension of the definition of Economy given by Gerard Debreu (1959). Choudhury (1999a) has extended Debreu's formulation by introducing the learning parameter of unity of knowledge. The ethically induced economy in the light of conscious oneness is a complex relational universe of its micro-parts. These comprise prices, quantities, incomes, resources, preferences and production menus, and technological choices. These are studied in relation to multimarkets and their agents represented by vector-variables of each of the above-mentioned categories. All of these categories of the representing variables are mutually interactive according to the interactive, integrative, and evolutionary (IIE)-learning processes (explained earlier) by the medium of knowledge-flows that emanate from the episteme of conscious oneness.1
Discussion of scientific progress in science philosophy textssuggests that aggressiveness and selfishness on the part of scientistsis associated with high productivity. It…
Discussion of scientific progress in science philosophy texts suggests that aggressiveness and selfishness on the part of scientists is associated with high productivity. It is argued that the behaviour that appears to be the most improper actually facilitates the manifest goals of science. This article shows that the making of the 1930s generation of a sample of eminent economists was shaped by a high sense of co‐operation; continuing collaborative contact in the form of dual authorships of books and articles, joint teaching assignments, and review and support of each other′s writings, but very little of the intensive, relentless competition one finds among natural scientists. The difference stems not so much from the fact that economics is a soft science, but rather from the degree of maturity of the discipline. The 1930s generation of economists was fortunate to enter the field at a time when it was ready for its take off.
The three volumes before us comprise the second title in the “Elgar Reference Collection” of Critical Ideas in Economics, a new series which, we learn from the book cover, aims to provide “an essential reference source for students, researchers and lecturers in economics.” Each volume in the series will bring together a collection of previously-published articles and book-chapters which “focuses on [a] concept widely used in economics,” and will thereby “improve access to important areas of literature which will not be available in the archives of many of the newer libraries.” No one can deny that Professor Walker’s topic is ideally suited to this stated intent; is there a concept more “widely used in economics” than that of equilibrium? A collection of previously-published items cannot, of course, be appraised in terms of the originality of its content. Such a work offers a different sort of contribution. In addition to the publisher’s stated aim of an improved access to those key articles which, either because of their age or the location of their publication, are not widely available, a work such as this can perform a function not unlike that which Weintraub (1991, pp. 129–130) ascribes to the survey article. The act of selection (and, hence, of exclusion) serves to delineate the field for the non-specialist, and the ordering of the items in the collection can reveal instructive lines of intellectual development – a “filiation of scientific ideas” to adopt Schumpeter’s (1954, p. 6) felicitous phrase – that otherwise might be obscured.