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Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism in the Origins of Economics : The Philosophical Roots of 18th Century Economic Thought

Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism in the Origins of Economics : The Philosophical Roots of 18th Century Economic Thought

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This major new study of the philosophical roots of economics examines the impact on eighteenth century economic thought of the rivalry between two opposing philosophical outlooks: rationalism and anti-rationalism. The economic thought of this period, William Coleman argues, was a synthesis of these two outlooks.

Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism in the Origins of Economics examines the history of this key intellectual debate from Locke, Leibniz and Mandeville, to Hume, Condillac, Turgot and Smith. This authoritative study offers new insights on the work of the eighteenth century rationalists and anti-rationalists and the impact they had on the development of economic thought and analysis.

Dr Coleman's book addresses an intellectual conflict which remains relevant today. Neoclassical economics is frequently criticized because some of its assumptions, such as those concerning optimization, rationality and equilibrium, are rationalist in character. This important book explores the intellectual archaeology of this continuing controversy over neoclassical economics, and offers new perspectives drawn from the lessons of the past.

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