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William Petty – And the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic - Oxford Scholarship Online
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William Petty: And the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic

Ted McCormick


William Petty (1623–1687) was a founding figure in the history of social science, an architect of English colonial power in Ireland, and a champion of the new empirical and mechanical philosophy at the heart of the Scientific Revolution. This book explores Petty's intellectual biography and examines in particular the origins, ambitions, and significance of his greatest work, ‘political arithmetic’. It argues that Petty's invention was less an early form of economics than a program of social engineering that applied the methods and concepts of seventeenth‐century natural philosophy to the chall ... More

Keywords: William Petty, Scientific Revolution, economics, politics of religion, political arithmetic, Ireland, natural philosophy, social engineering, history of social science, Empire

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199547890
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547890.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ted McCormick, author
Assistant Professor of History, Concordia University, Montreal
Author Webpage