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Physiocracy as an Eighteenth-Century Science

Loïc Charles () and Christine Théré

A chapter in Including a Symposium on the Historical Epistemology of Economics, 2017, vol. 35A, pp 11-34 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract In this chapter, we investigate the physiocratic claim that political economy is a new science and shows that it covers a sophisticated and nuanced range of discourses and practices. François Quesnay, the founder of physiocracy, displayed a complex and original conception of science based on the entanglement of abstract knowledge with skilled practices and the importance of rooting science in the realm of bodily sensations. We show how he applied consistently this conception to physics (medicine), political economy, and geometry. We conclude by comparing the epistemology of some of his main disciples, especially Butré and Du Pont de Nemours, to that of Quesnay.

Keywords: Physiocracy; eighteenth-century science; François Quesnay; epistemology; B11; B40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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