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Jevons, Mill and the Private Laboratory of the Mind
The Manchester School
In this paper the rift between Jevons and Mill over the method of political economy serves as a prehistory to recent attempts of behavioural economists to once again explain economic behaviour by taking recourse to mankind's physiology. While Mill relied on the association psychology and its introspective method to establish indubitable first principles, Jevons scorned all recourse to introspection. As exemplified for Jevons's theory of labour, psychophysiology gave Jevons the means to think about economic behaviour in terms of functional form, and promised its assessment by means of experiments. Thus levelling down the Victorian distinction between mind and matter, Jevons turned political economy into social physics.
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