Hommages à Philippe Mongin (1950-2020)

Éminent collègue dans les domaines de la théorie de la décision et de la philosophie économique, Philippe Mongin, directeur de recherche au CNRS et professeur à HEC, s’est éteint le 5 août dernier. 

Dear friends,  

It is with an immense sadness that the French-speaking community of philosophers of economics and historians of economic thought learned that Philippe Mongin had passed away after a long medical fight on August 5,  2020. 

Born in 1950, Philippe had always been an extremely brilliant student. He entered the Literature and Philosophy department of the prestigious French Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1969. In 1973 he was successful at the “agrégation” in Philosophy, and begun a Ph.D. thesis in Social Sciences at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) under Raymond Aron, on Marx’s 1857 and 1858 manuscripts - the Grundrisse: La critique de l'économie politique dans les Grundrisse de Karl Marx.

Visiting scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, between 1975 and 1978, he was close to Frank Hahn and became interested in recent macro and microeconomic theory. Back to France, he worked in the 1980s on Herbert Simon’s notion of bounded rationality (see his « Simon, Stigler et les théories de la rationalité limitée », Social Science Information, 1986).   In 1984, he received a new degree in Mathematics and defended a second Ph.D. thesis in Economics. 

In the 1990s, following Amartya Sen’s work, he focused on normative economics, more specifically on the subjects of collective preferences under uncertainty (see his « Factoring out the impossibility of logical aggregation », Journal of Economic Theory, ‎ 2008), and on John Harsanyi’s reformulation of utilitarianism. 

Between  1991 and 1996, he was appointed as invited professor at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, where he co-authored some work with Claude d’Aspremont on the philosophical foundations of utility theory (see Philippe Mongin and Claude d'Aspremont, « Utility Theory and Ethics », Handbook of Utility Theory, Kluwer, 1998,  ch. 10, pp. 371-481), developed some original research in epistemic game theory (see  M. Bacharach, L.A. Gérard-Varet, P. Mongin and H. Shin, eds.,  Epistemic Logic and the Theory of Games and Decisions, Kluwer, 1997) - and met his wife, economist and prominent game theorist Françoise Forges.

After his stay at Louvain, Philippe became member of the THEMA research centre at the University Cergy-Pontoise, where he deepened his research program in normative economics in collaboration with co-authors such as Marc Fleurbaey and Jean-François Laslier (with whom he organised a monthly seminar in the philosophy of economics, « les Midis de l'Economie et de la Philosophie »). 

In the 2000s, Philippe turned to a new field of inquiry: judgment aggregation theory (see his « Value Judgments and Value Neutrality in Economics », Economica,‎ 2006), then developed an interest in the relation between game theory and the principle of rationality, and organized the first conference on Analytical Narratives in France. In 2006, he became Professor in Economics and Philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Études Commerciales (H.E.C.), where he taught until 2015. 

Throughout his career, Philippe was often appointed as visiting professor or visiting scholar: at the UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) in 1986, 1988, 1992 and 2004; at Duke University, University of California at Riverside, University of Chicago, and Stanford University in 1990; at the LSE in 1995 and from 1999 to 2002; at the University of British Columbia and at the Stanford Institute in Theoretical Economics in 1996; at the University of Graz in 1998; at Johns Hopkins in 2002; at the California Institute of Technology in 2003; at the Centre Walras-Pareto of the University of Lausanne in 2006 and 2007; at the Cowles Foundation and at Boston University in 2006 and 2008; at the International Center for Economic Research (ICER), in Torino, in 2007 and 2008; at Brown University in 2011; at the Australian National University in 2013; at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2015-2016; and at the Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (MPIWG) in Berlin in 2016. 

He gave plenary and keynote lectures at numerous international conferences (including the 2002 ESHET conference in Graz), and was member of many editorial boards, for: the Journal of Economic Methodology, the Revue économique, the Revue de philosophie économique, Social Science Information / Information sur les Sciences Sociales, Economics and Philosophy, and Theory and Decision. 

He also wrote two reports for the "Conseil d’analyse économique": on the project of a solidarity labor income (revenu de solidarité active, RSA) in 2008; and on the links between major risks and public action in 2013. 

He was awarded prestigious distinctions: the two French national orders, the Ordre National du Mérite in 1995, and the Ordre National de la Légion d'honneur in 2004; and, recently, in 2019, the Maurice Allais prize in Economics, and the Grammaticakis-Neumann prize of the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques

Philippe was brilliant, innovative and always extremely elegant: we lost both an important thinker and a friend.


Annie L. Cot

University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Among his major publications in english, are: 

- Infinite Regressions in the Optimizing Theory of Decision (with B. Walliser). In Risk, Decision and Rationality, B. Munier, ed., Dordrecht, Reidel, 1987, p. 435-457. 

- A Note on Verisimilitude and Relativization to Problems. Erkenntnis, 33, 1990, p. 391-396. - Social Choice Theory in the Case of Von Neumann-Morgenstern Utilities (with T. Coulhon). Social Choice and Welfare, 6, 1989, p. 175-187. 

- The Early Full-Cost Debate and the Problem of Empirically Testing Profit-Maximization. Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics, 13, Winter 1990-91, p. 236-251. 

- Rational Choice Theory Considered as Psychology and Moral Philosophy. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 21, 1991, p. 5-37; 

- Some Connections Between Epistemic Logic and the Theory of Nonadditive Probability. In Patrick Suppes: Scientific Philosopher, P. Humphreys, ed., Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1994, t. 1, p. 135-172. 

- The Logic of Belief Change and Nonadditive Probability. In Logic and Philosophy of Science in Uppsala, D. Prawitz and D. Westerstahl, eds., Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1994, p. 49-68. 

- Belief Closure: A Semantics of Common Knowledge for Modal Propositional Logic (with L. Lismont). Mathematical Social Sciences, 30, 1995, p. 127-153. 

- A Non-Minimal But Very Weak Axiomatization of Common Belief (with L. Lismont). Artificial Intelligence, 70, 1994, p. 363-374. 

- Harsanyi's Aggregation Theorem: Multi-Profile Version and Unsettled Questions. Social Choice and Welfare, 11, 1994, p. 331-354. 

- On the Logic of Common Belief and Common Knowledge (with L. Lismont). Theory and Decision, 37, 1994, p. 75-106. 

- Consistent Bayesian Aggregation. Journal of Economic Theory, 66, 1995, p. 313-351. 

- A Note on Affine Aggregation (with B. De Meyer). Economics Letters, 47, 1995, p. 177-183. 

- The Marginalist Controversy. In Handbook of Economic Methodology, J. Davis, W. Hands and U. Mäki, eds., London, Elgar, 1997, p. 558-562. 

- Expected Utility Theory . In Handbook of Economic Methodology, J. Davis, W. Hands and U. Mäki, eds., London, Elgar, 1997, p. 342-350. 

- Economists’ Responses to Anomalies: Full-Cost Pricing versus Preference Reversals (with D. Hausman). History of Political Economy. Annual Supplement, 29, 1998, p. 255-272. 

- Logic and Foundations of the Theory of Games and Decisions . Mathematical Social Sciences, 36, 1998 (1 –2) (co-ed. with G. Bonanno and M. Kaneko). 

- The Modal Logic of Probability (with A. Heifetz). Proceedings TARK VII (7th Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Reasoning About Knowledge), San Mateo, Ca., Morgan Kaufman, 1999 p. 175-185. 

- Does Optimization Imply Rationality?. Synthèse, 124, 2000, p. 73-111. 

- On the Determination of Subjective Probabilities by Choices (with E. Karni). Management Science, 46, 2000, p. 233-248. 

- The Impartial Observer Theorem of Social Ethics. Economics and Philosophy, 17, 2001, p. 147-179. 

- A Note on Mixture Sets in Decision Theory. Decisions in Economics and Finance, 24, 2001, p. 59-69. 

- Probability Logic for Type Spaces (with A. Heifetz). Games and Economic Behavior

, 35, 2001, p. 31-53. 

- The Paradox of the Bayesian Experts and State-Dependent Utility Theory. Journal of Mathematical Economics, 29, 1998, p. 331-361. 

- Constrained Egalitarianism in a Simple Redistributive Model (with J.Y. Jaffray). Theory and Decision, 54, 2003, p. 33-56. 

- Strong Completeness Theorems for Weak Logics of Common Belief (with L. Lismont). Journal of Philosophical Logic, 32, 2003, p. 

- The News of the Death of Welfare Economics is Greatly Exaggerated (with M. Fleurbaey). Social Choice and Welfare, 25, 2005, p. 381-418. 

- Value Judgments and Value Neutrality in Economics. Economica , 72, 2006, p. 257-286. 

- A Concept of Progress for Normative Economics. Economics and Philosophy, 22, 2006, p. 19-54. 

- A Welfarist Version of Harsanyi's Theorem (with C. d'Aspremont). In Justice, Political Liberalism, and Utilitarianism, M. Fleurbaey, M. Salles and J. Weymark, eds., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (C.U.P.), 2008, ch. 7, p. 184-197. 

- Factoring Out the Impossibility of Logical Aggregation. Journal of Economic Theory, 141, 2008, p. 100-113. 

- Analytic Narrative. In Encyclopedia of Political Science, 2010, G.T. Kurian, J.E. Alt, S. Chambers. G. Garrett, M. Levi, P. McClain, eds., New York, CQ Press, SAGE Publications. 

- The Premiss-Based Approach to Judgment Aggregation (with F. Dietrich). Journal of Economic Theory, 145, 2010, p. 562-582. 

- The Doctrinal Paradox, the Discursive Dilemma, and Logical Aggregation Theory. Theory and Decision, 73, 2012, p. 315-345. 

- Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects (with M. Pivato). Journal of Economic Theory, 157, 2015, p. 146-171. 

- Approval Voting and Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (with F. Maniquet). Social Choice and Welfare, 44, 2015, p. 519-532. 

- Choice-Based Cardinal Utility: a Tribute to Patrick Suppes (with J. Baccelli). Journal of Economic Methodology, 23, 2016, p. 268-288. 

- Social Evaluation Under Risk and Uncertainty (with M. Pivato). In Oxford Handbook of Well-Being and Public Policy, M. Adler and M. Fleurbaey, eds., Oxford University Press, 2016, ch. 24, p. 711-745. 

- Spurious Unanimity and the Pareto Principle, Economics and Philosophy. 32, 2016, p. 511-532. 

- A Theorem on Aggregating Classifications (with F. Maniquet). Mathematical Social Science, 79, 2016, p. 6-10. 

- The Utilitarian Relevance of the Aggregation Theorem (with M. Fleurbaey). American Economic Journal (Microeconomics), 8, 2016, p. 289-306. 

- Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence. In Proceedings of the 16th Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Reasoning About Knowledge (TARK 2017).

- Rethinking Nudge: Not One But Three Concepts (with M. Cozic). Behavioural Public Policy, 2, 2018, p. 107-124. 

- A Game-theoretic Analysis of the Waterloo Campaign and Some Comments on the Analytic Narrative Project. Cliometrica, 12, 2018, p. 451-480. 

- Judgment Aggregation. In Introduction to Formal Philosophy, V.F. Hendrickx et S.O. Hansson, eds., Berlin, Springer, 2018, ch. 38, p. 705-720.

- The Allais Paradox: What It Became, What It Really Was, What It Now Suggests to Us. Economics and Philosophy, 35, 2019, p. 423-459. 

- Bayesian Decision Theory and Stochastic Independence. Philosophy of Science, 87, 2020(1).