Economics and the Limits of Optimization: Steps Towards Extending Bernard Hodgson's Moral Science [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Business Ethics 108 (1):37-48 (2012)
In this essay, my point of departure is Bernard Hodgson’s analysis of neo-classical economic theory and his demonstration that neo-classical economic thought is already a branch of normative theory. I undertake to broaden the demonstration by showing that other contemporary conceptions of economics are also irreducibly normative. The essay begins with an overview of Hodgson’s argument strategy, and a discussion of his thesis that economics is a moral science. This illustrates in what way moral presuppositions are at play as core principles that both positivist and normativist economics take for granted. My strategy is to show that alternative conceptions of economics, in particular Schumpeterian accounts of evolution/innovation, and orthodox versions of ecological economics, share with classical and neo-classical economics normative assumptions about the common good, extending Hodgson’s thesis to one about moral science . For then these assumptions (both moral and scientific ) commit economics to unworkable notions of social and environmental optimization that ignore the pure historical contingency of physical, economic, social and cultural conditions. It is concluded that the relationship between facts and values must be fundamentally retheorized.
|Keywords||Normative economics Optimization Neo-classical economics Innovation Production theory Ecological economics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Robert Nozick (1974). Anarchy, State and Utopia. Basic Books.
Leonard J. Savage (1954). The Foundations of Statistics. Wiley Publications in Statistics.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
Bruno Latour (2004). Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences Into Democracy. Harvard University Press.
Ian Hacking (2002). Historical Ontology. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Douglas Bishop (2012). The Elephant in the Room: On the Absence of Corporations in Bernard Hodgson's Economics as a Moral Science. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 108 (1):27-35.
Peter J. Boettke (1990). Individuals and Institutions. Critical Review 4 (1-2):10-26.
Bernard Hodgson (2005). Thinking and Acting Outside the Neo-Classical Economic Box: Reply to McMurtry. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 56 (3):289 - 303.
John McMurtry (2003). The Life-Blind Structure of the Neoclassical Paradigm: A Critique of Bernard Hodgson's "Economics as a Moral Science". [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 44 (4):377 - 389.
Bernard Hodgson (1983). Economic Science and Ethical Neutrality: The Problem of Teleology. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 2 (4):237 - 253.
Geoffrey Brennan & Daniel Moseley (forthcoming). Economics and Ethics. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell
Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (1998). Prediction and Prescription in Economics: A Philosophical and Methodological Approach. Theoria 13 (2):321-345.
Philippe Mongin (2006). Value Judgements and Value Neutrality in Economics. Economica 73 (290):257-286.
Bernard Hodgson (1992). Rationality in Economics, Shaun Hargreaves Heap. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989, Ix + 224 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 8 (02):290-298.
Dennis Badeen (2012). Bernard Hodgson's Trojan Horse Critique of Neoclassical Economics and the Second Phase of the Empiricist Level of Analysis. Journal of Business Ethics 108 (1):15-25.
Uskali Mäki (1996). Two Portraits of Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 3 (1):1-38.
Russell Hardin (1992). The Morality of Law and Economics. Law and Philosophy 11 (4):331 - 384.
Added to index2011-11-03
Total downloads3 ( #483,023 of 1,726,564 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #369,858 of 1,726,564 )
How can I increase my downloads?