I use the phenomenological notion of the life-world for a thorough critique of economic science on three different levels. First, for a description of the discursive situation of current economists regarding their public, professional and pedagogical ethos. Second, for a social history of the scientification of economics from the 17th century until today. Third, for a biography of a mathematical economist, Gerard Debreu, who never perceived himself as an economist but nevertheless received the Nobel Prize for Economics. I argue that economic science is constituted by the oblivion of the life-world, specifically the oblivion of the motives that give rise to economics. Claiming scientific authority in economics thus produces an experiential conflict for the intellectual life of economists.

Edmund Husserl, Gerard Debreu, biography, history of economics, mathematical economics
A. Klamer (Arjo) , J. de Mul (Jos)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Düppe, T. (2009, May 26). The Phenomenology of Economics: Life-World, Formalism, and the Invisible Hand. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/16075