Induction and Deduction

  • David ReismanEmail author
Part of the Great Thinkers in Economics book series (GTE)


Economics in the time of Malthus was torn between the abstract, symbolic and mathematical approach of Descartes and Ricardo and the facts-based empiricism of Bacon, Petty and Hume. Malthus said he wanted to rely principally on historical evidence but that theory was indispensable in order to interpret the record. His mixed methodology enabled him to back up his data with a priori conjectures and promising hypotheses. His investigations were always hampered by the lack of statistics and by the difficulty of testing hypotheses like those involving consensus, utility or popular unrest which are by their nature imprecise. The chapter shows that near-contemporaries like Wallace, Howlett, Price and Paley had encountered the same difficulties.


Moral philosophy Political economy club Population Malthus 


By T. R. Malthus

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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