IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/67264.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Morality and Value Neutrality in Economics: A Dualist View

Author

Listed:
  • Li, Cheng

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that economics exhibits the properties of both moral science and value-free technique, thereby establishing a dualist view on the two identities of economics. This duality is implied by the fundamental logic of the economic way of thinking − investigating human behavior upon the means-end rationality principle. In this view, on the one hand, economics behaves as a moral science for two reasons: all economic theories and policy discussions are necessarily based on some moral premises about means-end considerations; economics as an analytical approach can be and has been applied to explanations of a wide range of ethical issues. On the other hand, economics remains neutral regarding judgmental positions. This is because economists cannot deal with the comparisons and choices among different value criteria, unless some ethical presuppositions of higher order are given to them. Therefore, economics is indeed featured by both morality and value neutrality.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Cheng, 2015. "Morality and Value Neutrality in Economics: A Dualist View," MPRA Paper 67264, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67264
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/67264/1/MPRA_paper_67264.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/73797/1/MPRA_paper_73797.pdf
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1985. "The Expanding Domain of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(6), pages 53-68, December.
    2. Roger E. Backhouse & Steven G. Medema, 2009. "Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 221-233, Winter.
    3. Colander, David, 2009. "What Was €Œit†That Robbins Was Defining?," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 437-448, December.
    4. Friedman, Benjamin Morton, 2011. "Economics: A Moral Inquiry with Religious Origins," Scholarly Articles 8895184, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Jagdish Bhagwati, 2011. "Markets and Morality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 162-165, May.
    6. Hausman,Daniel M., 2012. "Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107015432, November.
    7. Hausman,Daniel M., 2008. "The Philosophy of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521883504, November.
    8. David Colander, 2007. "What Was “It” that Robbins Was Defining?," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0706, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    9. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2013. "Defending the One Percent," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 21-34, Summer.
    10. Scarantino, Andrea, 2009. "On The Role Of Values In Economic Science: Robbins And His Critics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 449-473, December.
    11. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    12. Piet Keizer, 2017. "A multidisciplinary-economic framework of analysis," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 103-132, November.
    13. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2011. "Economics: A Moral Inquiry with Religious Origins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 166-170, May.
    14. Alan Duhs, 2005. "Inverting Economic Imperialism: The Philosophical Roots of Ethical Controversies in Economics," Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, , vol. 16(3), pages 323-339, April.
    15. Boulding, Kenneth E, 1969. "Economics as a Moral Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 1-12, March.
    16. Robert J. Shiller & Virginia M. Shiller, 2011. "Economists as Worldly Philosophers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 171-175, May.
    17. Hausman,Daniel M., 2012. "Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107695122, November.
    18. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2011. "The Restoration of Welfare Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 157-161, May.
    19. Giuseppe Munda, 2016. "Beyond welfare economics: some methodological issues," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 185-202, June.
    20. Goran Sunajko, 2016. "Rawls and Piketty: the philosophical aspects of economic inequality," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 71-84, May.
    21. Hausman, Daniel M & McPherson, Michael S, 1993. "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 671-731, June.
    22. Ronald H. Coase, 1977. "Economics and Contiguous Disciplines," International Economic Association Series, in: Mark Perlman (ed.), The Organization and Retrieval of Economic Knowledge, chapter 25, pages 481-495, Palgrave Macmillan.
    23. Hilary Putnam & Vivian Walsh, 2009. "Entanglement throughout Economic Science: The End of a Separate Welfare Economics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 291-297.
    24. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 251-278, October.
    25. Hausman,Daniel M., 2008. "The Philosophy of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521709842, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Cheng LI, 2020. "The rationality principle as a universal grammar of economic explanations," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 58-80, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2011. "The Full Value of the Nobel Prize - Part 1: Mining “Data Without Theory”," MPRA Paper 33483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Cheng LI, 2020. "The rationality principle as a universal grammar of economic explanations," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 58-80, November.
    3. Mollie Painter-Morland & Geert Demuijnck & Sara Ornati, 2017. "Sustainable Development and Well-Being: A Philosophical Challenge," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 146(2), pages 295-311, December.
    4. Hendrik P. van Dalen, 2019. "Values of Economists Matter in the Art and Science of Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(3), pages 472-499, August.
    5. Jacobs Martin, 2016. "Accounting for Changing Tastes: Approaches to Explaining Unstable Individual Preferences," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 67(2), pages 121-183, August.
    6. Peter Andre & Armin Falk, 2021. "What’s Worth Knowing? Economists’ Opinions about Economics," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 102, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    7. M. Northrup Buechner, 2014. "A comment on scarcity," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 8(1), November.
    8. Gabriel Martinez, 2010. "The Idea of Economics in a University," Working Papers 1002, Ave Maria University, Department of Economics.
    9. Romaniuc, Rustam, 2017. "Intrinsic motivation in economics: A history," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 56-64.
    10. Steven J. Humphrey & Nadia-Yasmine Kruse, 2024. "Who accepts Savage’s axiom now?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 96(1), pages 1-17, February.
    11. Guilhem Lecouteux & Ivan Mitrouchev, 2021. "The "View from Manywhere": Normative Economics with Context-Dependent Preferences," GREDEG Working Papers 2021-19, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    12. Vasco Almeida, 2016. "The Moral and Political Dimension of Economics. The Fact-Value Dichotomy," Annales. Ethics in Economic Life, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, vol. 19(4), pages 7-21, December.
    13. Rodolfo Garcia Sierra & Alvaro Zerda Sarmiento, 2016. "Hydropower Megaprojects in Colombia and the Influence of Local Communities: A View from Prospect Theory to Decision Making Process based on Expert Judgment used in Large Organizations," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 6(3), pages 408-420.
    14. Loïc Sauce, 2017. "Market process(es) and (un)knowledge," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 305-321, September.
    15. Hausman, Catherine & Stolper, Samuel, 2021. "Inequality, information failures, and air pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    16. Francesco GUALA, 2017. "Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental," Departmental Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    17. Tomer, John F., 1996. "Good habits and bad habits: A new age socio-economic model of preference formation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 619-638.
    18. Bruno Frey, 1999. "State Support and Creativity in the Arts: Some New Considerations," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 23(1), pages 71-85, March.
    19. Marc Audi & Amjad Ali, 2023. "Public Policy and Economic Misery Nexus: A Comparative Analysis of Developed and Developing World," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 13(3), pages 56-73, May.
    20. Giacomo Bonanno, 2013. "Counterfactuals and the Prisoner?s Dilemma," Working Papers 6, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Methodology; Rationality; Moral science; Value-free approach;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67264. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joachim Winter (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.