Methodological Shortcomings in Classical Mathematical Economics: A Critical Examination of the Contributions of Cournot, Jevons and Walras

Document Type: Research Paper

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Abstract

This paper examines critically the contributions of Cournot, Jevons and Walras as the founders of classical mathematical economics from a methodological standpoint. Advances in different economic schools and doctrines in the 19th century produced an environment of multi-dimensionality in economic analysis which was regarded by the pioneers of classical mathematical economists as a chaotic state. We have demonstrated that the formation of this new discipline, known equivalently as pure or scientific economics, was a response to this so-called chaotic state. We have also shown that the erroneous logic of abstraction in the sense of reducing a multi-dimensional economic system to a one-dimensional mechanical framework as the methodological basis of classical mathematical economics has been the origin of serious shortcomings in mathematical treatment of economics. Based on the writings of Jevons and Walras we have provided evidences to support the claim that advances in Marxian economics can be considered as the prime motive in the development of classical mathematical economics.

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