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Applying mathematics to economics according to Cournot and Walras

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This article examines the reasons that led Cournot to refuse Walras's request that he writes an article defending mathematical economics. From a reading of Cournot's works on philosophy and economics we show three reasons which explain the Cournot's refusal. First, Cournot does not attach the same importance to the theorems proposed by Walras. Second, these theorems enable Walras to defend an economic system that he considers to be truer than any other while Cournot believed that the economy could be subject to various forms of mathematical representations. Third, Cournot does not refer to the same conception of mathematics of Walras.
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Keywords: B13; B16; B40; B41; Cournot; History of economic analysis; Walras; epistemology; mathematics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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