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In Defense of Deontology and Kant: A Reply to van Staveren

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  • Mark White

Abstract

In this note, I respond to a recent article by Irene van Staveren (2007) in this journal, where she presents a case for virtue ethics, rather than deontology or consequentialism, as the most appropriate philosophical foundation for economics. Rather than taking issue with her positive arguments for virtue ethics, I argue in defense of deontology - or, more specifically, the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. I argue that, when properly understood, Kantian ethics should not be associated solely with formal rules and obligation, but that Kant's moral system can accommodate many of the concerns of virtue ethics, such as social relations, real-world context, and human fallibility, as well as embodying a unique emphasis on human dignity and judgment.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark White, 2009. "In Defense of Deontology and Kant: A Reply to van Staveren," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 299-307.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:21:y:2009:i:2:p:299-307
    DOI: 10.1080/09538250902834103
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