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Augustin Cournot: Modelling Economics

Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut, Director, Cournot Centre, Paris, France
From his earliest publications, Cournot broke from tradition with his predecessors in applying mathematical modelling to the social sphere. Consequently, he was the first to affirm the mathematization of social phenomena as an essential principle. The fecundity of Cournot’s works stems not only from this departure, but also from a richness that irrigated the social sciences of the twentieth century. In this collection, the contributors – including two Nobel laureates in economics – highlight Cournot’s profound innovativeness and continued relevance in the areas of industrial economics, mathematical economics, market competition, game theory and epistemology of probability and statistics. Each of the seven authors reminds us of the force and modernity of Cournot’s thought as a mathematician, historian of the sciences, philosopher and, not least, as an economist.
Extent: 168 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84720 586 5
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $47.00 Web: $37.60
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84720 654 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
“If Augustin Cournot had still been alive, he could have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics on at least three different occasions”, exclaimed Nobel Laureate Robert Aumann during the 2005 Cournot Centre conference.

From his earliest publications, Cournot broke from tradition with his predecessors in applying mathematical modelling to the social sphere. Consequently, he was the first to affirm the mathematization of social phenomena as an essential principle. The fecundity of Cournot’s works stems not only from this departure, but also from a richness that irrigated the social sciences of the twentieth century. In this collection, the contributors – including two Nobel laureates in economics – highlight Cournot’s profound innovativeness and continued relevance in the areas of industrial economics, mathematical economics, market competition, game theory and epistemology of probability and statistics. Each of the seven authors reminds us of the force and modernity of Cournot’s thought as a mathematician, historian of the sciences, philosopher and, not least, as an economist.

Combining an epistemological perspective with a theoretical one, this book will be of great interest to researchers and students in the fields of economics, the history of economic thought, and epistemology.
‘. . . readers, especially those with a methodological orientation, will find in this book useful material of a kind not so frequently available in more traditional HET books and journals.’
– Nicola Giocoli, Storia del Pensiero Economico

‘Augustin Cournot: Modelling Economics is not a biography, but rather a reflection on those ideas of Cournot that persist today and what we can still learn from this great thinker. One cannot help but wonder at the wide range of accomplishments detailed in this book, but the discussion of Cournot’s missteps is an unexpected highlight. . . this book should appeal to those who would like to learn more about Cournot as well as the various settings in which his thoughts have been embraced or rejected.’
– Lauren E. Feiler, Journal of Economic Literature

‘This rich and fascinating collection of essays helps enormously to establish the reputation of Augustin Cournot as a diverse and powerful thinker, whose numerous contributions range far beyond his widely acknowledged model of oligopoly. Cournot is revealed not merely as a mathematician, but one who was engaged in philosophical debates concerning epistemology and the nature of science. Anyone with the preconception that the development of modern economics was confined to the Anglophone world – from Smith through Marshall to the Nobel Laureates of today – will be amazed by the details of Cournot’s contribution revealed here.’
– Geoffrey M. Hodgson, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Contributors: R.J. Aumann, A. Desrosières, J. Magnan de Bornier, T. Martin, G. Shafer, R.M. Solow, J.-P. Touffut, B. Walliser
Contents:

Preface

About the Series: Professor Robert Solow

The Complete Works of Antoine Augustin Cournot

Chronological Biography of Antoine Augustin Cournot

Introduction
Thierry Martin and Jean-Philippe Touffut

1. Cournot as Economist: 200 Years of Relevance
Jean Magnan de Bornier

2. Cournot’s Probabilistic Epistemology
Thierry Martin

3. The Functions of Economic Models
Bernard Walliser

4. From Cournot’s Principle to Market Efficiency
Glenn Shafer

5. War and Peace
Robert J. Aumann

6. Cournot and the Social Income
Robert M. Solow

7. Comparing the Incomparable: The Sociology of Statistics
Alain Desrosières

Index