William Stanley Jevons
the breakwith the tradition of
classical political economy
differences with the other currents of
the so-called marginalist revolution
What characterized Jevons in his break with the classicaltradition were:
(1835 – 1882)
Jevons was born in Liverpool, England
In 1850 he went to University College, London, where he studied natural sciences, chemistry and mathematics
In1857 he began to cultivate an interest in social and economic issues, and soon decided to make the ‘study of Man’ his mission in life
His major contribution to economic theory, the Theory ofpolitical economy, in 1871, and The treatise on the Principles of science in 1874.
Jevons’s personal itinerary helps us to understand the background to his ‘subjective revolution’.
- His views on humanpsychology pointed in the direction of necessary quantitative connections (‘laws’)
Logic, as a purely formal and abstract science, provided the tools for analysis of ‘laws’ in the field of both thenatural and human sciences.
- Jevons’s view that numbers are capable of expressing everything.
In the field of research, the scientist must pursue agreement between
through a procedureconsisting in
Jevons dedicated rather more time to this line of research, before and after publication of The theory of political economy, than to research in the field of economics.
These themes aresignificant for an understanding of how one of the fathers of the ‘subjective revolution’ reasoned.
Jevons was very far from pursuing an axiomatic method, where what mattered was the logicalconstruction of the theory and not its realism.
The Jevonian revolution:
mathematical method in economics
Jevons’s subjective theory of value relying on
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