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The Intellectual Foundations of Alfred Marshall's Economic Science
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Book description

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.


'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

'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

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