Edgeworth's mathematization of social well-being

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Francis Ysidro Edgeworth's unduly neglected monograph New and Old Methods of Ethics (1877) advances a highly sophisticated and mathematized account of social well-being in the utilitarian tradition of his 19th-century contemporaries. This article illustrates how his usage of the ‘calculus of variations’ was combined with findings from empirical psychology and economic theory to construct a consequentialist axiological framework. A conclusion is drawn that Edgeworth is a methodological predecessor to several important methods, ideas, and issues that continue to be discussed in contemporary social well-being studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-15
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
Early online date16 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2023


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