Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 27: Antoine-Augustin Cournot (1801–1877)
Antoine-Augustin Cournot was born on 28 August 1801 in Gray, in the province of Franche-Comté, and died in Paris on 31 March 1877. He was admitted to the École Normale at the age of 20, but the school was closed in 1822 for political reasons. He then studied at the Faculty of Sciences and defended in 1829 his main thesis in mechanics and a secondary thesis in astronomy. The mathematical papers he published attracted the attention of Siméon-Denis Poisson and, thanks to him, in 1834 he became professor of mechanics and analysis at the Faculty of Sciences in Lyon. In October 1835, he became “Recteur” of the Académie de Grenoble and taught mathematics at the Faculty. In 1836 he replaced André-Marie Ampère as general inspector of education. While working for these three positions, he wrote his Recherches sur les principes mathématiques de la théorie des richesses, published in 1838. He came back to mathematics and published, in 1841, the Traité élémentaire de la théorie des fonctions et du calcul infinitésimal and, in 1843, his book on probability theory, Exposition de la théorie des chances et des probabilités. He then directed his attention to the philosophy of sciences with his Essai sur les fondements de nos connaissances (1851) and Traité de l’enchaînement des idées fondamentales dans les sciences et dans l’histoire (1861). From 1854 to 1862, he was “Recteur” of the Académie de Dijon but, in 1862,...
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