The Socratic Conception of Economics

  • Barry Gordon


The direction in which the Sophists led economics was not to be pursued again with vigour until the latter part of the sixteenth century A.D. Plato and Aristotle reacted against the mercantilist tendencies of their intellectual opponents, and this reaction was to prove decisive. Further, they refused to treat economics as a technology. Consideration of the relative desirability of alternate goals of economic action was at the core of their conception of the discipline. In this chapter, we examine both the philosophers’ rejection of the growth of wealth of the nation as the object of economic enquiry, and then, the type of science of choice amongst ends which they sought to promote as the appropriate form of study. First, however, it is necessary to appreciate the coincidence of historical events and intellectual currents which produced such a radical change of direction in the progress of economics.


Economic Analysis Good Life Acquisitive Activity Plastic Ideal Household Management 
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Copyright information

© Barry Gordon 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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