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Contra Private Fairness


This paper attempts to clarify our understanding of the everyday use of fair as we apply it to economic behavior. I first examine the decomposition of fair into its semantic primitives and discuss implications of recent research which indicates that the word is untranslatable into any other language, i.e., the concept of fair is distinctly Anglo. I also make a Wittgensteinian appeal to context and human sociality as an indispensable tether for what we mean by a fair experience and what we epistemologically know about fairness. The principal implication of this is that rules that guide fair behavior are not located in an individual’s private utility function but instead reside in the connections that the individual has to his cultural environs.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 71 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 407-435

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:71:y:2012:i:2:p:407-435
DOI: j.1536-7150.2012.00836.x
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