Can economics contribute to moral life?
AbstractThis paper wants to answer the following question: can economics contribute to a morally decent life? Economics as a science originates from modern moral philosophy. This discipline analyses human nature and its consequences for the way in which social order is maintained. But as economics developed from the morally embedded economic analyses of Adam Smith to the morally neutral neoclassical economics, it became increasingly independent of its moral philosophical roots. The paper shows a way out of this moral indifference. Firstly, it discusses a more realistic economic approach, in which social and psychic processes play a significant role in the shaping of interpretations of the world. Secondly, it places humans in an ecological context. Ecology is about the interrelationship between entities and their environment. In our analysis ecology is about the relationship between humans and non-humans. We can, if morally necessary, consider particular non-humans, such as animals or plants, as independent identities, having value in their own right. In this way a multidisciplinary economic analysis appears to be a more efficient map in the hands of morally motivated people. A last problem analysed by the paper is the question: how do people get morally motivated? They do if they discover which virtues of persons and organisations lead to a maximum of utilities for all and when they place themselves in situations, where moral sentiments are aroused. Then people will listen to a voice inside themselves that says: you ought to develop these virtues.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by SCEME in its series SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology with number 025/2008.
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
ethics; economic methodology;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-05-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2009-05-02 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2009-05-02 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2009-05-02 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthias Klaes) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Matthias Klaes to update the entry or send us the correct address.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.