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Les mathématiques du plaisir et de la peine: la théorie du choix individuel de Hermann Heinrich Gossen

Les mathématiques du plaisir et de la peine: la théorie du choix individuel de Hermann Heinrich Gossen

Tubaro, Paola (2009) Les mathématiques du plaisir et de la peine: la théorie du choix individuel de Hermann Heinrich Gossen. In: Alcouffe, Alain and Diebolt, Claude, (eds.) La pensée économique allemande. Economica, Paris, France, pp. 245-267. ISBN 978-2717854497 (pbk)

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Abstract

In early nineteenth-century Germany, the use of mathematics in economics flourished more than in other European countries, and got ahead of mainstream “literary” economics in many respects. This article gives the flavour of this relatively little known tradition, with focus on the case of Hermann Heinrich Gossen. It examines the influence of mathematical concepts and tools on the theory of individual economic behaviour of this writer, and brings to light the essential role that mathematics played as source of inspiration. Counter to earlier views insisting on the role of elementary geometry as a tool for analytical discovery in Gossen, this essay highlights the importance of advanced mathematics in forming his main concepts. In particular, the mathematical notion of function together with optimisation calculation methods enabled Gossen to provide a formal definition of utility / pleasure and to conceptualise utility maximisation as the founding principle of the economic behaviour of individuals.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gossen, mathematics, mathematical economics, theory of individual economic behaviour, functions, utility/pleasure function, optimisation, utility maximisation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Business Network Analysis (CBNA)
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC) > Centre for Business Network Analysis (CBNA)
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:13
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/5221

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