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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Binder, Martin, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics and Moral Relativism - Some Thoughts," MPRA Paper 1484, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1484
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1484/1/MPRA_paper_1484.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ulrich Witt, 2003. "Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 77-94, April.
    2. 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, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    3. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    4. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
    5. Martin Binder & Uta-Maria Niederle, 2006. "Institutions as Determinants of Preference Change – A One Way Relation?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    6. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 1-28, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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