William Stanley Jevons


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Related to William Stanley Jevons: Vilfredo Pareto, John Stuart Mill, Irving Fisher

Jevons, William Stanley

 

Born Sept. 1, 1835, in Liverpool; died Aug. 13, 1882, near Hastings. English economist, statistician, philosopher, and logician. Professor of logic, philosophy, and political economy in Manchester (1866-76) and London (1876-80).

Jevons was the founder of the mathematical school in political economy and one of the founders of marginal utility theory. His Theory of Political Economy (1871) is the best known of his economic works. He considered the main problem of economic science to be the study of demand, whose basic principle was the law of diminishing utility. The limited nature of his economic theory prompted F. Engels’ characterization of it as a “rotten and vulgar political economy” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 37, p. 299). Jevons was one of the first to attempt to apply mathematical methods to “economic analysis. He continued the development of mathematical logic that G. Boole had begun. At the basis of his theory of logic (the foundation of which was the class calculus) Jevons placed the “principle of the substitution of similars.” He created one of the first logical machines (1869). He connected the theory of logical induction with the theory of probability.

WORKS

Pure Logic. London, 1864.
The Substitution of Similars. London, 1869.
In Russian translation:
Osnovy nauki. St. Petersburg, 1881.

REFERENCES

Bliumin, I. G. Sub’ektivnaia shkola v burzhuaznoi politicheskoi ekonomii. Moscow, 1962. Chapter 5.
Seligman, B. Osnovnye techeniia sovremennoi ekonomicheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Stiazhkin, N. I. Formirovanie matematicheskoi logiki. Moscow, 1967. (With bibliography.)
B. V. BIRIUKOV and I. I. LASHCHINSKII