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Evolutionary Economics and Moral Relativism - Some Thoughts

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  • Binder, Martin

Abstract

Doubts about the decidability of moral questions have often been used as an excuse for economists to eschew any normative propositions. Evolutionary economics, still lacking a well-developed normative branch, gives rise to a form of descriptive moral relativism. This paper wants to explore the consequences of adopting a form of meta-ethical and normative moral relativism as well. It develops a normative position called ‘naturalistic relativism’, which is a naturalistically reconstructed neo-pragmatist form of relativism. The paper also gives an argument why this position seems to be the adequate normative correlate for evolutionary economics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1484.

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Date of creation: 22 Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1484

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Keywords: evolutionary economics; moral relativism; sensory utilitarianism; continuity hypothesis; naturalistic relativism;

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  1. Ulrich Witt, 2003. "Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 77-94, 04.
  2. Martin Binder & Uta-Maria Niederle, 2006. "Institutions as Determinants of Preference Change – A One Way Relation?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  3. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Warke, Tom, 2000. "Mathematical Fitness in the Evolution of the Utility Concept from Bentham to Jevons to Marshall," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 5-27, March.
  5. U. Witt, 2005. "From Sensory to Positivist Utilitarianism and Back -- The Rehabilitation of Naturalistic Conjectures in the Theory of Demand," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  6. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
  7. Blaug,Mark, 1993. "The Methodology of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521436786, October.
  8. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
  9. Jack Knight, 2001. "A Pragmatist Approach to the Proper Scope of Government," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(1), pages 28-, March.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
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