Pareto's Methodological Approach to Economics: A Study in the History of Some Scientific Aspects of Economic Thought

By Vincent J. Tarascio | Go to book overview

III Ethical Neutrality Requirement

PARETO'S INTELLECTUAL ORIENTATION

Each of the intellectual traditions presented in the preceding chapter expounded a set of philosophical principles for the scientific investigation of human society. Such principles constitute a philosophy of science. Comte's philosophy of science involved the recognition of physical science methods as valid sources of the scientific knowledge of human society. The main concern of this section will be with the Comtian sense of the term "scientific," which distinguishes the procedures of "positive" science from theological and metaphysical principles. My purpose in introducing Comte at this point is to establish the influence of Comte upon Pareto and, in turn, to see in what ways Pareto's views represent a departure from Comte's philosophy. Once Pareto's intellectual orientation has been determined, what follows in this chapter can be presented with little difficulty.

Pareto's intellectual orientation has been the subject of some confusion in the secondary sources. Millikan has compared Pareto to Bacon, seeing a similarity in their "somewhat naive empiricism."1 John Harrington believes that "Newton can be said to have furnished inspiration for Pareto's methodology."2 Werner Stark seems unable to decide just where Pareto's methodology and intellectual orientations belong. He links Pareto to Plato,3 Weber,4 and Nietzsche,5 in one of his works. Later he sees an affinity between the "rationalistic" views

____________________
1
Max Millikan, "Pareto's Sociology," Econometrica, IV ( Dec., 1936), 324.
2
John Harrington, "Vilfredo Pareto," Social Theorists ed. C. Mihanovich ( Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1953), p. 175.
3
Werner Stark, The Sociology of Knowledge ( Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1958), p. 51.

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Pareto's Methodological Approach to Economics: A Study in the History of Some Scientific Aspects of Economic Thought
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies in Economics and Business Administration i
  • Title Page v
  • Contents xi
  • I- Introduction 3
  • II- Pareto and His Time 6
  • III- Ethical Neutrality Requirement 30
  • IV- The Scope of Economics and Sociology 56
  • V- Pareto''s Methodology and Method in the Social Sciences 85
  • VI- Pareto''s Methodology and Method in Economics 104
  • VII- Conclusion 126
  • Index 147
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