Economic Doctrine and Method: An Historical Sketch
The science of economics, as it took shape towards the end of the eighteenth century, had grown from two roots which must be clearly differentiated from one another. The great writings of the eighteenth century of which Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is by far the most important example, epitomized the work of previous writers and handed it down to posterity. They offer us two strands of thought that had long existed independently of each other. One of these strands originated in the study of the philosophers in the widest sense of the term, that is, those thinkers to whom social activities as such appeared as the fundamental problem and as an essential element in their conception of the world. This strand derived therefore from Philosophy as the great mother of all sciences. The other had been accumulated by people of various types whose primary motive had been their interest in practical problems of the day.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1954, translated from the German 1912.