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The Intellectual Foundations of Alfred Marshall's Economic Science
A Rounded Globe of Knowledge

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Part of Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107514126

$ 37.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book provides a contextual study of the development of Alfred Marshall’s thinking during the early years of his apprenticeship in the Cambridge moral sciences. Marshall’s thought is situated in a crisis of academic liberal thinking that occurred in the late 1860s. His crisis of faith is shown to have formed part of his wider philosophical development, which saw him supplementing Anglican thought and mechanistic psychology with Hegel’s Philosophy of History. This philosophical background informed Marshall’s early reformulation of value theory and his subsequent wide-ranging reinterpretation of political economy as a whole. The book concludes with the suggestion that Marshall’s mature economic science was conceived by him as but one part of a wider, neo-Hegelian, social philosophy.

    • Takes a completely novel, controversial view of the writings of Alfred Marshall, one of the greatest economic theorists of all time
    • Contextualizes Marshall's thinking for broad audience, e.g. history of ideas, history and philosophy of science, British history, social history, history of economic and political thought
    • Integrates Marshall's life, thinking, and history with Victorian, Edwardian, and post-Edwardian history
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    • Winner of the 2011 ESHET Best Monograph Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    “This careful analysis of Marshall’s early writings offers a fresh perspective on the evolution of his ideas. For anyone who wants to understand the intellectual environment out of which Marshall’s economics arose, this book is essential reading.” – Roger Backhouse, University of Birmingham

    “Simon Cook has identified the distinct and widely varying strands of Marshall’s intellectual and social vision and rewoven them into a piece of whole cloth. This effectively redraws the map of Marshallian scholarship.” – Neil De Marchi, Duke University

    “An accurate, thoughtful, and fascinating account of the intimate and intricate connections between Marshall’s political economy and the development of his philosophical thinking. A landmark in Marshallian scholarship.” – Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”

    “Simon Cook’s richly contextualized examination of the intellectual foundations of Marshall’s economics challenges conventional views of Marshall and opens up new paths to understanding the man and his work. Cook’s probing examination of Marshall’s intellectual development is required reading for any scholar interested in Marshall the man, his system of economic analysis, and his legacy in modern economics.” – Steven G. Medema, University of Colorado, Denver

    “This reconstruction of the foundations of Alfred Marshall’s social philosophy is the product of original research on the manuscripts that reveal the breadth and depth of Marshall’s intellectual concerns during his apprenticeship years. In addition to being a thorough contextual study of the intellectual origins of Marshall’s better-known economic writings, Simon Cook’s book helps to explain those pervasive idealistic and historical dimensions to Marshall’s work that have often perplexed even his closest followers.” – Donald Winch, University of Sussex

    "Alfred Marshall is no doubt an economist whose thought is highly intricate, with plenty of facets, and an inquiry into is background is really welcomed as a way of disentangling some of this complexity. In this respect, Cook's book is, therefore, absolutely welcome.... It is extremely detailed, clearly the result of a hard work done on several texts and manuscripts." -

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107514126
    • length: 352 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Contexts of Marshall's Intellectual Apprenticeship:
    1. The state of long-term memories
    2. A liberal education
    Part II. Dualist Moral Science:
    3. Mental crisis
    4. The way of all flesh
    5. Political economy
    Part III. Neo-Hegelian political economy:
    6. A philosophy of history
    7. Missing links: the education of the working classes
    Epilogue. 'A Rounded Globe of Knowledge':
    8. Social philosophy and economic science.

  • Author

    Simon J. Cook
    Simon J. Cook is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel-Aviv University. He previously taught for five years at Duke University. Dr Cook received his Ph.D. from the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge.


    • Winner of the 2011 ESHET Best Monograph Award

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