A good way of characterizing what is usually called the 17th-century “revolution of modern science” is to focus on Galileo Galilei’s theory of explanation. As is well known, he set aside three of the four Aristotelian causes (material, formal and final causes) in order to base all sound scientific explanations in terms of efficient causes. In the second half of the 19th century a new scientific revolution occurred, with Darwin’s theory of evolution. As it has been stated repeatedly, Darwinism also has something to do with the abandoning of teleology in science, as speciation is explained without any appeal to final causes. But in the last quarter of the 19th century a third scientific revolution occured, this time in the social sciences. Many philosophers of science fail to notice or understand this intellectual event. This third scientific revolution is usually called the “marginalist revolution.” The transformation of political economy into pure economics, and progressively, into mathematical economics had at least two distinctive features. First, this revolution broke out simultaneously but independently in three different European countries: with Carl Menger (1840- 1921) in Austria, with William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882) in England, and with Léon Walras (1834- 1910), who, in 1870, was the first to hold the Chair of Political Economy at the University of..
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