Numero pondere et mensura Deus omnia condidit"In the Middle Ages the phrase 'Number, Weight, and Measure' had been used to indicate the essential unity and harmony of the world."
Hoc symbolum suum honoris et benevolentiae
Gratia Dignissimo Doctissimoque huus Albi
[Number, weight and measure, God created all these things. I have placed this, my motto, for the honor and best wishes for the most worthy and learned possessor of this book.]
Posuit Deus omnia in numero, pondere et mensura Galileo Galilei, Le Opere, vol. IV, p. 24.
Kenneth Boulding, "What Went Wrong With Economics." 1986:
Underlying every model of the world is a taxonomy, a set of classifications into which we divide the enormous complexity of the real world. All the elements of one taxonomic set are supposed to be significantly alike and significantly different from the elements in another taxonomic set. What is significantly alike and different, however, is often remarkably difficult to discover, especially in social systems, and a failure of taxonomy, that is, regarding things as alike which are really different and things as different which are really alike, is a main source of epistemological failure. Alchemy is a classic example of this in the physical sciences, where the elements of earth, air, fire, and water are hopelessly heterogeneous and incomparable aggregates."A Centenarian on a Bicentenarian: Léon Walras's Eléments on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations." William Jaffé. The Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d'Economique. Vol. 10, No. 1 (Feb., 1977), pp. 19-33
Walras, having also been guided by the precedent of Newtonian celestial mechanics, used his rarete as the connecting common principle in the construction of his general equilibrium model. One of Leon Walras's last publications, Economique et mecanique (1909), published the year before he died, was a reaffirmation of his reliance on the pattern of Newtonian mechanics to inform his conception of catallactic mechanics. From the age of nineteen on, when Walras first read Louis Poinsot's Elements de statique, he had sought to create a theory of economics with the same formal properties that characterized celestial mechanics.Kenneth Boulding, "What Went Wrong With Economics":
Perhaps the real villain is the discovery of seventeenth-century mathematics some 200 years late by Cournot, Jevons, and most of all, Walras, whose elegance and brilliance set economics on a path that increasingly has become a dead end... That it has its uses nobody will deny, but it also has great and largely unrecognized dangers. Sociologically, it leads into a kind of intellectual snobbery that requires every article to be prettied up in what is frequently cosmetic and unnecessary mathematics. The number of propositions, certainly about social systems, which can only be reached with the aid of mathematics, is quite small.William Petty, Political Arithmetik. 1690:
The Method I take to do this, is not yet very usual; for instead of using only comparative and superlative Words, and intellectual Arguments, I have taken the course (as a Specimen of the Political Arithmetick I have long aimed at) to express my self in Terms of Number, Weight, or Measure; to use only Arguments of Sense, and to consider only such Causes, as have visible Foundations in Nature; leaving those that depend upon the mutable Minds, Opinions, Appetities , and Passions of particular Men, to the Consideration of others:...Henry Martin. Considerations Upon the East-India Trade. 1701:
Most of the things in these Papers are directly contrary to the receiv'd Opinions, and therefore ought not to be sent abroad without the clearest Evidence; For this, instead of using only comparative and superlative Words to amuse the Reader, the Author has endeavour'd after the manner of the Political Arithmetick, to express himself in Terms of Number, Weight, and Measure; and he hopes, he shall not be thouglit to speak with confidence, of any thing that is not as certain as the very Principles of Geometry.Nicolaus of Cusa, De Docta Ignorantia (On Learned Ignorance). Book II, Chapter 13, 1440. translated by Jasper Hopkins:
In creating the world, God used arithmetic, geometry, and likewise astronomy. (We ourselves also use these arts when we investigate the comparative relationships of objects, of elements, and of motions.) For through arithmetic God united things. Through geometry He shaped them, in order that they would thereby attain firmness, stability, and mobility in accordance with their conditions. Through music He proportioned things in such a way that there is not more earth in earth than water in water, air in air, and fire in fire, so that no one element is altogether reducible to another. As a result, it happens that the world-machine cannot perish.... And so, God, who created all things in number, weight, and measure arranged the elements in an admirable order. (Number pertains to arithmetic, weight to music, measure to geometry).Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, Chapter 11, verses 21-25
Yea and without these, they might have been slain with one blast, persecuted by their own deeds, and scattered by the breath of thy power: but thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight. For great power always belonged to thee alone: and who shall resist the strength of thy arm? For the whole world before thee is as the least grain of the balance, and as a drop of the morning dew, that falleth down upon the earth: But thou hast mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance. For thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which thou hast made: for thou didst not appoint, or make any thing hating it.