Economics and ethics under the same umbrella: Edgeworth's 'exact utilitarianism', 1877-1881

Shiri Cohen Kaminitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Edgeworth's original mathematical formalization of utilitarianism as presented in his works of 1877-81 illustrates an intriguing phase in the mutually intertwined history of economics and utilitarianism. In this article I analyse Edgeworth's motivations and point to its interesting implications. In particular, it is pointed out that the starting point of Edgeworth's project had little to do with the field of economics, but formed part of an attempt to present utilitarianism in the most scientific way possible; an attempt made in the context of intensive dispute between the three opposing camps in the field of ethics at the time. Nevertheless, the project concluded with the monograph Mathematical Psychics (1881) that embodied an original relationship between economics and utilitarianism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)487-503
Number of pages17
JournalUtilitas
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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