We examine the “new comparativeeconomics” as proposed by Djankov et al. (2003) and their use of the concept of an institutional possibilities frontier. While we agree with their general argument that one must consider a variety of institutions and their respective social costs, including legal systems and cultural characteristics, when comparing the performance of different economic systems, we find various complications and difficulties with the framework they propose. We propose that a broader study of clusters of institutions (...) and such newly emerging forms as the new traditional economy may be better suited as ways to approach the study of comparativeeconomics in the era after the breakdown of the old comparison of market capitalism and command socialism that came to an end with the breakup of the Soviet Union. (shrink)
Comparative perspectives in development economics make extensive use of qualitative and quantitative induction together with deduction, and some-times a narrative, to bring ?facts? together in an interrelated whole. It is a method of inquiry not allied to any single ?world view? though some development economists believe that comparative perspectives (or analytical economic history) are most representative of the classical tradition in development economics. Pattern modeling which is strongly associated with the inductive approach can take account of (...) complexity and diversity, as well as uniformities, in the development experience. (shrink)
This paper argues that a new economic system is emerging in the world economy, that of the new traditional economy. Such an economic system simultaneously seeks to have economic decision making embedded within a traditional socio-cultural framework, most frequently one associated with a traditional religion, while at the same time seeking to use modern technology and to be integrated into the modern world economy to some degree. The efforts to achieve such a system are reviewed in various parts of the (...) world, with greater analysis of the Islamic and neo- Confucian economic systems. (shrink)
"Written in a racy, persuasive style, the book impresses the reader as a work of significant scholarship...I encourage students of comparative religions- and especially those of Islamic economics- to read it with great care."&$151; Islamic Studies The worlds of economics and theology rarely intersect. The former appears occupied exclusively with the concrete equations of supply and demand, while the latter revolves largely around the less tangible concerns of the soul and spirit. Intended as an interfaith clarification of (...) the relationship between the material and the spiritual worlds, this volume first inspects secular beliefs about the relationship between economics and ethics. Exploring the differences and similarities between the treatment of economic issues in each of the great monotheistic religions, Rodney Wilson reveals how each tradition considers such subjects as individual wealth, lending, economic regulation, usury, insurance capitalism, socialism, and banking. He concludes with an intriguing epilogue on the rapidly expanding field of business ethics. (shrink)
The paper discusses the sense in which the changes undergone by normative economics in the twentieth century can be said to be progressive. A simple criterion is proposed to decide whether a sequence of normative theories is progressive. This criterion is put to use on the historical transition from the new welfare economics to social choice theory. The paper reconstructs this classic case, and eventually concludes that the latter theory was progressive compared with the former. It also briefly (...) comments on the recent developments in normative economics and their connection with the previous two stages. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 This paper suspersedes an earlier one entitled “Is There Progress in Normative Economics?” (Mongin 2002). I thank the organizers of the Fourth ESHET Conference (Graz 2000) for the opportunity they gave me to lecture on this topic. Thanks are also due to J. Alexander, K. Arrow, A. Bird, R. Bradley, M. Dascal, W. Gaertner, N. Gravel, D. Hausman, B. Hill, C. Howson, N. McClennen, A. Trannoy, J. Weymark, J. Worrall, two annonymous referees of this journal, and especially the editor M. Fleurbaey, for helpful comments. The editor's suggestions contributed to determine the final orientation of the paper. The author is grateful to the LSE and the Lachmann Foundation for their support at the time when he was writing the initial version. (shrink)
This paper endeavours to summarize a variety of arguments for a reconsideration of ends in Economics. The logical structure of the rationality of ends (practical rationality) differs from the one of means (instrumental rationality). The paper sets out to explain the differences between both rationalities and some of the implications of incorporating this new emphasis on ends, given that Economics adopts the means rationality. The emergence of the topics of incommensurability and incomparability of ends is presented and a (...) possible way to tackle it is suggested. Finally, some implications for Economics are drawn. This article emphasizes the importance of incorporating practical rationality into economic analysis. The arguments of the paper are built on Aristotelian grounds. (shrink)
The literature of an economics of science exists in a dismal no-(wo)man's-land located somewhere between economics, history, philosophy, policy, sociology and science. Perhaps it would have continued in this tenuous quasi-existence indefinitely, were it not for a series of trends that now seem to be encouraging the institution of a subfield within the profession of economics devoted to the topic. However, many of the economists who have begun to proclaim the existence of the new subfield have generally (...) done so by starting from scratch, striving to think through the relevant problem settings and proposed solutions with little attention paid to the alternative communities mentioned above, building ?models? of science generally unrecognizable to those outside of mainstream economics. The goal of this paper is to provide the requisite materials for advancing the emerging field of economics of science by discussing the various approaches in a systematic, comparative and integrative manner. (shrink)
This paper reviews three distinct strategies in recent economics for using the concept of social identity in the explanation of individual behavior: Akerlof and Kranton's neoclassical approach, Sen's commitment approach and Kirman et al.'s complexity approach. The primary focus is the multiple selves problem and the difficulties associated with failing to explain social identity and personal identity together. The argument of the paper is that too narrow a scope for reflexivity in individual decision?making renders the problem intractable, but that (...) enlarging this scope makes it possible to explain personal and social identity together in connection with an individual behavior termed comparative value?objective evaluation. The paper concludes with recommendations for treating the individual objective function as a production function. JEL classification: D01, D63, Z13. (shrink)
To understand the human capacity for psychological altruism, one requires a proper understanding of how people actually think and feel. This paper addresses the possible relevance of recent findings in experimental economics and neuroeconomics to the philosophical controversy over altruism and egoism. After briefly sketching and contextualizing the controversy, we survey and discuss the results of various studies on behaviourally altruistic helping and punishing behaviour, which provide stimulating clues for the debate over psychological altruism. On closer analysis, these studies (...) prove less relevant than originally expected because the data obtained admit competing interpretations – such as people seeking fairness versus people seeking revenge. However, this mitigated conclusion does not preclude the possibility of more fruitful research in the area in the future. Throughout our analysis, we provide hints for the direction of future research on the question. (shrink)
The paper analyses economic evaluations by distinguishing evaluative statements from actual value judgments. From this basis, it compares four solutions to the value neutrality problem in economics. After rebutting the strong theses about neutrality (normative economics is illegitimate) and non-neutrality (the social sciences are value-impregnated), the paper settles the case between the weak neutrality thesis (common in welfare economics) and a novel, weak non-neutrality thesis that extends the realm of normative economics more widely than the other (...) weak thesis does. (shrink)
As rational choice theory has moved from economics into political science and sociology, it has been dramatically transformed. The intellectual diffusion of agency theory illustrates this process. Agency theory is a general model of social relations involving the delegation of authority, and generally resulting in problems of control, which has been applied to a broad range of substantive contexts. This paper analyzes applications of agency theory to state policy implementation in economics, political science, and sociology. After documenting variations (...) in the theory across disciplinary contexts, the strengths and weaknesses of these different varieties of agency theory are assessed. Sociological versions of agency theory, incorporating both broader microfoundations and richer models of social structure, are in many respects the most promising. This type of agency theory illustrates the potential of an emerging sociological version of rational choice theory. (shrink)
Modern socialist economic reforms which center on the establishment of a commodity based economic system, demand a reconsideration of human nature. Marxism and human sociobiology give different answers to questions about human nature, but neither is complete in itself. It seems timely, therefore, to suggest that a combination of biological understanding with a Marxist-based social understanding would produce a more adequate notion of human nature, thereby helping us to resolve a number of problems posed by reforms currently taking place in (...) socialist countries. We might also hope to face new challenges posed in the future. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
The principal findings of experimental economics are that impersonal exchange in markets converges in repeated interaction to the equilibrium states implied by economic theory, under information conditions far weaker than specified in the theory. In personal, social, and economic exchange, as studied in two-person games, cooperation exceeds the prediction of traditional game theory. This book relates these two findings to field studies and applications and integrates them with the main themes of the Scottish Enlightenment and with the thoughts of (...) F. A. Hayek. (shrink)
There is an increasingly widespread belief, both within and outside the discipline, that modern economics is irrelevant to the understanding of the real world. Economics and Reality traces this irrelevance to the failure of economists to match their methods with their subject, showing that formal, mathematical models are unsuitable to the social realities economists purport to address. Tony Lawson examines the various ways in which mainstream economics is rooted in positivist philosophy and examines the problems this causes. (...) It focuses on human agency, social structure and their interaction and explores how the understanding of this social phenomena can be used to transform the nature of economic practice. Economics and Reality concludes by showing how this newly transformed economics might set about shaping economic policy. (shrink)
Economics today cannot predict the likely outcome of specific events any better than it could in the time of Adam Smith. This is Alexander Rosenberg's controversial challenge to the scientific status of economics. Rosenberg explains that the defining characteristic of any science is predictive improvability--the capacity to create more precise forecasts by evaluating the success of earlier predictions--and he forcefully argues that because economics has not been able to increase its predictive power for over two centuries, it (...) is not a science. (shrink)
The Grammar of Criminal Law is a 3-volume work that addresses the field of international and comparative criminal law, with its primary focus on the issues of international concern, ranging from genocide, to domestic efforts to combat terrorism, to torture, and to other international crimes. The first volume is devoted to foundational issues. The Grammar of Criminal Law is unique in its systematic emphasis on the relationship between language and legal theory; there is no comparable comparative study of (...) legal language. Written in the spirit of Fletcher's classic Rethinking Criminal Law, this work is essential reading in the field of international and comparative law. (shrink)
Even as dismissive of pursuing Comparative Philosophy for achieving East-West synthesis in philosophy, the author maintains the need for “open philosophizing.” “Open philosophizing” is one characterized by dialogical openness to culturally diverse philosophical traditions and thought-patterns.
Comparative genomicists seem to be convinced that the unit of measurement employed in their studies is a gene that drives the function of cells and ultimately organisms. As a result, they have come to some substantive conclusions about how similar humans are to other organisms based on the percentage of genetic makeup they share. I argue that the actual unit of measurement employed in the studies corresponds to a structural rather than a functional gene concept, thus rendering many of (...) the implications drawn from comparative genomic studies largely unwarranted, if not completely mistaken. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Utah, 215 South Central Campus Drive, Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, 4th Floor, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Many economic problems are also ethical problems: should we value economic equality? how much should we care about preserving the environment? how should medical resources be divided between saving life and enhancing life? This book examines some of the practical issues that lie between economics and ethics, and shows how utility theory can contribute to ethics. John Broome's work has, unusually, combined sophisticated economic and philosophical expertise, and Ethics Out of Economics brings together some of his most important (...) essays, augmented with a new introduction. The first group of essays deals with the relation between preference and value, the second with various questions about the formal structure of good, and the concluding section with the value of life. This work is of interest and importance for both economists and philosophers, and shows powerfully how economic methods can contribute to moral philosophy. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a cutting-edge reference work to philosophical issues in the practice of economics. It is motivated by the view that there is more to economics than general equilibrium theory, and that the philosophy of economics should reflect the diversity of activities and topics that currently occupy economists. Contributions in the Handbook are thus closely tied to ongoing theoretical and empirical concerns in economics. Contributors include both philosophers of science (...) and economists. Chapters fall into three general categories: received views in philosophy of economics, ongoing controversies in microeconomics, and issues in modeling, macroeconomics, and development. Specific topics include methodology, game theory, experimental economics, behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, computational economics, data mining, interpersonal comparisons of utility, measurement of welfare and well being, growth theory and development, and microfoundations of macroeconomics. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a groundbreaking reference like no other in its field. It is a central resource for those wishing to learn about the philosophy of economics, and for those who actively engage in the discipline, from advanced undergraduates to professional philosophers, economists, and historians. (shrink)
The term neoclassical economics delineates a distinct and relatively homogenous school of thought in economic theory that became prominent in the late nineteenth century and that now dominates mainstream economics. The term was originally introduced by Thorstein Veblen to describe developments in the discipline (of which Veblen did not entirely approve) associated with the work of such figures as William Jevons, Carl Menger, and Leon Walras. The ambition of these figures, the first neoclassicists, was to formalize and mathematize (...) the subject in the aftermath of the so-called marginalist revolution. Economics is, according to one definition, the science that studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means that have alternative uses. Neoclassical economics pursues this study by means of supply and demand models that determine prices based on the subjective preferences of producers and consumers. Neoclassical economics relies on subjective preferences for determining prices in order to escape from the so-called objective value theory of classical economics, according to which the value of goods could be established by reference to some basic commodity (usually corn) or the labor input required to produce a good. Neoclassicists hoped that by jettisoning objective value, economics could be placed on a more scientific basis as an essentially descriptive and predictive theory of human behavior. Political theory, by contrast, involves both positive and normative elements. It is a positive science to the extent to which it aims to describe and predict political behavior. It is a normative science to the extent to which it prescribes how agents should behave in the political arena and what the best political institutions are. Neoclassical economics is relevant to both of these elements. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropologist Mircea Eliade once said that "the union of opposites" is a basic category of archaic ontology and comparative world religions. In this paper I develop the theory of contrariety or opposition as a prime focus for East/West comparative philosophy. The paper considers especially Nishida Kitaro's later works and the complex phrase "zettai mujuntekijikodbitsu," variously translated by Schinzinger as "absolute contradictory self-identity," "the self-identity of absolute contradictories," or more simply as "oneness" or "unity" of opposites.
Feminist economists have demonstrated that interrogating hierarchies based on gender, ethnicity, class and nation results in an economics that is biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book examines many of the central philosophical questions and themes in feminist economics including: · History of economics · Feminist science studies · Identity and agency · Caring labor · Postcolonialism and postmodernism With contributions from such leading figures as Nancy Folbre, Julie (...) Nelson and Sandra Harding, Toward a Feminist Theory of Economics looks set to become the book on feminist economics for some time to come and will be greatly appreciated by all those interested in gender studies, economic methodology and social theory. (shrink)
The primary aim of the text is to introduce the reader to the relationship between economics and ethics and to the application of economic ethics in the evaluation of the market. The reader will gain insight into: * The ethical and methodological strategy of economics and criticism of the core assumptions that underpin the economic defense of free market operation. * The characteristics of different ethical theories (utilitarianism, duty and rights ethics, justice and virtue ethics) that can be (...) used to evaluate the free market. * How to apply economics in conjunction with ethical theories to evaluate economic trends and policies that promote the free operation of the market and are subject to public debate. These insights will help to develop the reasoning and analytical skills needed to criticize economic analysis as well as to apply ethical concepts to moral issues in economic policy. (shrink)
Introduction : ethical economics? -- The sovereign consumer -- Two myths about economic growth -- The politics of pay -- Happiness -- Pricing life and nature -- New worlds of money : public services and beyond -- Conclusion.
Deirdre McCloskey is rightly one of the most recognizable names in economics. She views economics as a language that uses all the rhetorical devices of everyday conversation and therefore it should be judged by aesthetic and literary standards and not the criteria of mathematical rigor that is espoused by the mainstream. This controversial standpoint has been hugely influential and this examination of the methodological and philosophical consequences of her work is overdue, and very welcome.
The focus here is Robert L. Heilbroner's critique, in the last chapter of the 7th edition of The Worldly Philosophers, of the idea that economics is, or should be, scientific. Heilbroner's conception of economics as essentially tied to capitalism is too narrow, and at odds with his own commentary on the rise of pauperism after the English common-land enclosures; and his critique of contemporary economics-as-social science is overdrawn. Nevertheless, there is indeed an important role for the “visionary” (...)economics for which Heilbroner hankers: assessing the benefits and drawbacks of different ways of ordering the production and distribution of goods and services. (shrink)
There is a growing perception among economists that their field is becoming increasingly irrelevant due to its disregard for reality. Critical realism addresses the failure of mainstream economics to explain economic reality and proposes an alternative approach. This book debates the relative strengths and weaknesses of critical realism, in the hopes of developing a more fruitful and relevant socio-economic ontology and methodology. With contributions from some of the leading authorities in economic philosophy, it includes the work of theorists critical (...) of this approach. In the first part, contributors develop and deepen economics as a realist social theory by considering the work of individuals, various schools of thought, socio- economic phenomena and methodology. In the second part, contributors weigh the strengths and weaknesses of critical realism. (shrink)
This intriguing new book examines and analyses the role of critical realism in economics and specifically how this line of thought can be applied to the real world. With contributions from such varying commentators as Sheila Dow, Wendy Olsen and Fred Lee, this new book is unique in its approach and will be of great interest to both economic methodologists and those involved in applied economic studies.
This paper develops an account of evolutionary progress for use in the field of evolutionary economics. Previous work is surveyed and a new account set out, based on the idea of evolvability as it has been used recently in evolutionary developmental biology. The biological underpinnings of this idea are explained using examples of a series of phenomena that influence the evolvability of biological systems. It is further argued that selection pressures and developmental processes are sufficiently similar to make this (...) biological concept useful in economics. The new account is defended against a number of common objections to the notion of progress in evolving systems, including the claim that all stipulated measures of evolutionary progress are essentially arbitrary. It is argued that progress, understood as an increase in evolvability over time, is both philosophically well-justified and provides useful predictive and explanatory resources to those seeking to understand and manipulate evolving economic systems. (shrink)
In Ethics, Economics, and Politics Ian Little returns to offer a new defence of a rule-based utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disiplines of philosophy, economics and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy.
This book introduces the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant—in particular, the concepts of autonomy, dignity, and character—to economic theory, explaining the importance of integrating these two streams of intellectual thought. Mainstream economics is rooted in classical utilitarianism, recommending that decision makers choose the options that are expected to generate the largest net benefits. For individuals, the standard economic model fails to incorporate the role of principles in decision-making, and also denies the possibility of true choice, which can be independent (...) of preferences and principles altogether. For policymakers, standard decision-making frameworks recommend tradeoffs that are beneficial in terms of material goods or wealth, but may be morally questionable from a more person-centered perspective. Integrating Kantian ethics affects economics in three important ways. This integration allows for a more complete understanding of human choice, incorporating not just preferences and constraints, but also principles and strength of will or character. It demonstrates the broader impact of welfare economics, which generates policies that affect not only persons' well-being, but also their dignity and autonomy. Finally, it reconciles the traditional, individualist stance in economic models of choice with the social responsibility emphasized by many systems of philosophical ethics and heterodox schools of economics. (shrink)
In launching modern economics, Adam Smith paved the way for laissez-faire capitalism, Marxism, and contemporary social science. This book scrutinizes Smith's disparagement of politics and religion to illuminate the subtlety of his rhetoric, the depth of his thought, and the ultimate shortcomings of his project. The author analyzes Smith's ideas on government, justice, human psychology, and international relations, stressing Smith's efforts to elevate wealth at the expense of citizenship and to replace normative political philosophy with historical theorizing and empirical (...) modeling that emphasize economic causes. The book also provides the most comprehensive interpretation available of Smith's views on religion, examining the discrepancies between The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. The concluding chapter appraises the demise of communism in light of the Marxian emancipation of economics from politics and religion. (shrink)
Focusing on the work of Friedrich von Hayek and Vernon Smith, we discuss some conceptual links between Austrian economics and recent work in behavioral game theory and experimental economics. After a brief survey of the main methodological aspects of Austrian and experimental economics, we suggest that common views on subjectivism, individualism, and the role of qualitative explanations and predictions in social science may favour a fruitful interaction between these two research programs.
The Philosophy of Economics is the first work to seriously and successfully bridge twentieth-century economics and twentieth-century philosophy. Subroto Roy draws these two disciplines together and examines the basic intellectual roots of economics. This is also the first work by an economist to employ the writings of Wittgenstein and to tackle seriously the import of modern philosophy for economic thought. Unlike others in the field, Roy discusses not only the contributions of Popper, Kuhn, and Lakatos but also (...) those of Frege, Moore, and Wittgenstein, as well as Plato and Aristotle. (shrink)
This bibliography is the culmination of four years' work by a team of noted scholars; its annotated entries are organized by religious tradition and cover each tradition's central concepts, offering a judicious selection of primary and secondary works as well as recommendations of cross-cultural topics to be explored. Specialists in the history and literature of religions and comparative religion will find this bibliography a valuable research tool.
Out of the Margin is the first book to consider feminist concerns across the whole domain of economics. In recent years there has been a tremendous increase in interest on the relation between gender and economics. Feminists have found much of concern in the way the economics has written women out of its history, built its theories around masculinist values, failed to take proper account of women and their work when measuring the economy and ignored most of (...) the policy issues that press most heavily upon women. This book is a firm rejection of this marginalized position. Including contributions from leading feminist economists from the US and Europe, the book offers a richness of new insights in addressing the absence of women, both as subject and object, in the history of economic thought. Out of the Margin also explores the philosophical roots of rational economic man, power relations and conflicts within the family, the limitations of relying on secondary data, the need for new data and research, the policy implications of neo-classical economic models and the need for fundamental research in policy making. With its range and depth of coverage, this is not only an excellent introduction to the field but also indispensible for anyone looking for an in-depth analysis of gender and economics. (shrink)
Hermeneutics has become a major topic of debate throughout the scholarly community. What has been called the "interpretive turn" has led to interesting new approaches in both the human and social sciences, and has helped to transform divided disciplines by bringing them closer together. Yet one of the largest and most important social sciences economics has so far been almost completely left out of the transformation. Economics and Hermeneutics takes a significant step towards filling this gap by introducing (...) scholars on both sides of the divide to ways that hermeneutics might help economists address some of their most important problems. Among the topics addressed are entrepreneurship, price theory, rational expectations, monetary theory, welfare economics, and economic policy. The approaches to economics represented include the Austrian school, McCloskey's "rhetoric" approach, Marxian critical theory and institutionalism. (shrink)
Now that complex Agent-Based Models and computer simulations spread over economics and social sciences - as in most sciences of complex systems -, epistemological puzzles (re)emerge. We introduce new epistemological concepts so as to show to what extent authors are right when they focus on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of their model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity obtained through a simulation, (...) section 2 gives the possibility to understand more precisely - and then to justify - the diversity of the epistemological positions presented in section 1. Our final claim is that careful attention to the multiplicity of the denotational powers of symbols at stake in complex models and computer simulations is necessary to determine, in each case, their proper epistemic status and credibility. (shrink)
Recent pleas for more heterodoxy in explaining economic action have been defending a pluralism for economics. In this article, I analyse these defences by scrutinizing the pluralistic qualities in the work of one of the major voices of heterodoxy, Tony Lawson. This scrutiny will focus on Lawson's alternatives concerning ontology and explanation to mainstream economics. Subsequently, I will raise some doubts about Lawson's pluralism, and identify questions that will have to be addressed by heterodox economists in order to (...) maintain the claim of pluralism. (shrink)
Much existing economic theory overlooks ethics. Rather than situating the market and values at separate extremes of a continuum, Ethics and the Market contends that the two are necessarily and intimately related. This volume brings together some of the best work in the social economics tradition, with contributions on the social economy, social capital, identity, ethnicity and development, the household, externalities, international finance, capability, and pedagogy. Proceeding from an examination of the moral implications of markets, the book goes on (...) to explore such themes as the institutional arrangements of social economies, individual and household decision-making, and economic development in a global context. Ethics and the Market illuminates the diverse and dynamic theoretical approaches that are employed in social economics, reflecting on their continuously evolving relationship with neoclassical economics. This book will prove vital reading for students and academics in the fields of Economics, Sociology, Gender Studies, and Public Policy. (shrink)
We discuss in this paper the scope of abduction in Economics. The literature on this type of inference shows that it can be interpreted in different ways, according to the role and nature of its outcome. We present a formal model that allows to capture these various meanings in different economic contexts.
The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. All strands of thought at heart contain to a particular theory of the individual. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorize it. This superb book remedies this oversight. The new approach put forward by Davies is to pay more attention to what moral philosophy may offer us in the study of personal identity, self consciousness and will. This crosses (...) the traditional boundaries of economics and will shed new light on the distinction between positive and normative analysis in economics. With both heterodox and orthodox economics receiving a thorough analysis from Davies, this book is at once inclusive and revealing. (shrink)
The first study dedicated to the relationship between Alexander Pope and George Berkeley, this book undertakes a comparative reading of their work on the visual environment, economics and providence, challenging current ideas of the relationship between poetry and philosophy in early eighteenth-century Britain. It shows how Berkeley's idea that the phenomenal world is the language of God, learnt through custom and experience, can help to explain some of Pope's conservative sceptical arguments, and also his virtuoso poetic techniques.
Research in the social sciences received generous patronage in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Research was widely perceived as providing solutions to emerging social problems. That generosity came under increased contest in the late 1970s. Although these trends held true for all of the social sciences, this essay explores the various ways by which economists in particular reacted to and resisted the patronage cuts that were proposed in the first budgets of the Reagan administration. Economists’ response was three fold: (...) to engage in joint lobbying with other social scientists, to tap into their authority as a respected policy player, and to influence the types of research financed by the patron. With interviews of the former lobbyist for the social scientists, the former director of the Economics program for the National Science Foundation, and a review of the archival records of economists and their scholarly society, we discuss how economists have claimed entitlement to patronage in the closing decades of the twentieth century. We observe a dynamic and productive relationship between politicians and researchers mediated by the National Science Foundation, where civil servants, lobbyist and public minded scientists, and self-serving grantees trade roles. (shrink)
The beliefs of economists are not solely determined by empirical evidence in direct relation to the theories and models they hold. Economists hold 'ontological presuppositions', fundamental ideas about the nature of being which direct their thinking about economic behaviour. In this volume, leading philosophers and economists examine these hidden presuppositions, searching for a 'world view' of economics. What properties are attributed to human individuals in economic theories, and which are excluded? Does economic man exist? Do markets have an essence? (...) Do macroeconomic aggregates exist? Is the economy a mechanism, the functioning of which is governed by a limited set of distinct causes? What are the methodological implications of different ontological starting points? This collection, which establishes economic ontology as a coordinated field of study, will be of great value to economists and philosophers of social sciences. (shrink)
This paper distinguished different analytical approaches to the evaluation of the sustainability of large-scale land acquisitions—at both the conceptual and methodological levels. First, at the conceptual level, evaluation of the sustainability of land acquisitions depends on what definition of sustainability is adopted—strong or weak sustainability. Second, a lack of comparative empirical methods in many studies has limited the identification of causal factors affecting sustainability. An empirical investigation into the sustainability of land acquisitions in Tanzania that employs these existing concepts (...) in a methodologically rigorous manner offers an opportunity to more clearly addresses ethical questions surrounding international land acquisitions. My findings indicate that it should not be assumed that sustainability necessarily hinges on issues of strong sustainability, particularly that all village lands represent critical natural capital. As a result of its unique history of Ujamaa villagization, Tanzania villages often have ownership of significant tracts of unused land that mitigates the risk of violating conditions of strong sustainability. Issues of weak sustainability appear to be more important to villagers—particularly the degree of man-made capital benefits derived from projects. While compensation rates for lands acquired were low and the process lacked transparency, low compensation rates are not sufficient grounds for rejecting land acquisitions as unsustainable. When projects deliver significant man-made capital benefits, low compensation rates were not a politically salient issue amongst villagers. Finally, results suggest that some prioritization of man-made capital over biodiversity can be ethically defensible when the decision-making process goes through legitimate village government bodies and benefits reach poor villagers. (shrink)
Economists and other social scientists in this century have often supported economic arguments by referring to positions taken by philosophers of science. This important new book looks at the reliability of this practice and, in the process, provides economists, social scientists, and historians with the necessary background to discuss methodological matters with authority. Redman first presents an accurate, critical, yet neutral survey of the modern philosophy of science from the Vienna Circle to the present, focusing particularly on logical positivism, sociological (...) explanations of science (Polanyi, Fleck, Kuhn), the Popper family, and the history of science. She then deals with economic methodology in the twentieth century, looking at a wide range of methodological positions, especially those supported by positions from the philosophy of science. She considers the myth of the feasibility of falsification in economics and, within the context of its significance for economics, discusses the interpretation of Kuhn's philosophy of science as consensus and the danger such a view represents to science. Appendices review the history of the is-ought dispute and list economists whose first works deal with methodological topics. Comprehensive, readable, and accessible to those with little background knowledge, Redman's book will appeal to a wide range of social scientists and philosophers of science. (shrink)
This book is the result of the first SEEP (Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy) conference that was held in Asia. First, the Western tradition is reinterpreted and restated by the two editors with their diversified perspective of virtue ethics and communicative ethics. Then, new approaches such as "critical realism", "reciprocal delivery", "evolutionary thought" and "cultural studies" are applied to understand ethical problems in economics. Further, in contrast to the reassessment of Scottish moral philosophy and German Romanticism, Chinese, Japanese, (...) and Korean ethical thinking is examined under the modern perspective. This book does not miss the reflections on current problems around the penetration of corruption and the primacy of shareholders' value in the field of business. (shrink)
This volume for the first time brings the scholarly discipline of comparative religious ethics into constructive collaboration with the community of interreligious dialogue. Its design is premised on two important insights. First, interreligious dialogue offers to comparative religious ethics a new, more persuasive rationale, agenda of issues, and practical orientation. Second, comparative religious ethics offers to interreligious dialogue an arsenal of critical tools and methods which will enhance the sophistication of its practical work. In this way, both (...) theory (a dominant concern and strength of comparative religious ethics) and praxis (a dominant concern and strength of interreligious moral dialogue) are joined together in mutual effort, each contributing to the benefit of the other.The volume’s contributors share this vision of collaboration, drawing explicitly from both communities of discourse in a manner that crosses disciplinary and professional boundaries to deal creatively and constructively with important methodological and global moral issue. Although theory and practice cannot easily be separated in such a collaborative project, for the purpose of clarity, the volume is divided into two main parts. The first specifically engages questions of method, theory, and the social role of the public intellectual; the second, on substantive moral themes and issues, many of which were raised at the 1993 Parliament. Taken together, the volume’s essays articulate and illustrate new ways of approaching contemporary moral concerns cross-culturally yet with a rigor appropriate to our complex and pluralistic world. (shrink)
Hunting Causes and Using Them argues that causation is not one thing, as commonly assumed, but many. There is a huge variety of causal relations, each with different characterizing features, different methods for discovery and different uses to which it can be put. In this collection of new and previously published essays, Nancy Cartwright provides a critical survey of philosophical and economic literature on causality, with a special focus on the currently fashionable Bayes-nets and invariance methods – and it exposes (...) a huge gap in that literature. Almost every account treats either exclusively how to hunt causes or how to use them. But where is the bridge between? It’s no good knowing how to warrant a causal claim if we don’t know what we can do with that claim once we have it. This book will interest philosophers, economists and social scientists. (shrink)
This book presents fifteen essays, written over the past dozen years, on egalitarianism. The essays explore contemporary philosophical debates on this subject, using the tools of modern economic theory, general equilibrium theory, game theory, and the theory of mechanism design. Egalitarian Perspectives is divided into four parts: the theory of exploitation; equality of resources; bargaining theory and distributive justice; and market socialism and public ownership. The first part presents Roemer's influential reconceptualisation of the Marxian theory of exploitation as a theory (...) of distributive justice. The second part offers a critique of Ronald Dworkin's equality-of-resources theory, and puts forward a new egalitarian proposal based upon a specific method of measuring individual responsibility. The third part introduces a novel application of the theory of mechanism design to the study of political philosophy, and raises new concerns about the limitations of that application. The fourth part presents the author's views on market socialism and public ownership, and demonstrates that Professor Roemer is at the forefront of refining new theories and conceptions of market socialism. (shrink)
With an aim to bring caring back into economic theory, this work draws upon the work of Aristotle and Amartya Sen's notions of capability and commitment, to propose an alternative methodology to utilitarianism that is not normative.
This article examines the legal, economic, and ethical arguments supporting and opposing comparable worth. The co- authors advance opposing views on the wisdom of adopting comparable worth as a public policy, and those views are not reconciled within the limits of this essay.
This paper compares two aspects of the use of ?fun? within the economics profession. It analyzes the way in which a recently emerged genre of economics-made-fun uses fun and surprising insights to reach new audiences. And it also analyzes the way in which humor is used within and from outside the economics profession to criticize certain practices and characteristics of economists. It argues that the economics-made-fun genre, ?Freakonomics? being the prime example, not only redefines the domain (...) of economics, as is widely acknowledged, but also changes the identity of economists. In a similar way, humor is used by both insiders and outsiders to (re)define the appropriate identity and domain of economists. It draws on recent work in the history of science which distinguishes between various professional identities of scientists, such as the quirky genius and the intuitive and playful amateur. We argue that Levitt and other authors within this new genre redefine the identity of economists toward this latter type. On the other hand, humor is often used by critics of this economistic outlook on life to show the limitations of this perspective and to delineate its appropriate domain. (shrink)
Which schools of thought are favored by German economists? What makes a good economist and which economists have been most influential? These questions were addressed in a survey, conducted in the summer of 2006 among the members of the ?Verein für Socialpolitik?. An econometric analysis is used to identify to what extent ideological preferences or personal factors determine the respondents' answers. Our results suggest that German economists favor neoclassical economic theory as a school of thought and appreciate the contributions of (...) their Anglo-Saxon colleagues much more than their fellow compatriots' contributions. Furthermore, a ?good? economist should have expertise in a certain field, as well as a broader knowledge of general economics. Some of the results can be compared to Colander (2008). The results indicate that graduate programs noted for their American style greatly influence a student's opinion as to what attributes a good economist must have. (shrink)
Since economies are dynamic processes driven by creativity, social norms, and emotions as well as rational calculation, why do economists largely study them using static equilibrium models and narrow rationalistic assumptions? Economic activity is as much a function of imagination and social sentiments as of the rational optimisation of given preferences and goods. Richard Bronk argues that economists can best model and explain these creative and social aspects of markets by using new structuring assumptions and metaphors derived from the poetry (...) and philosophy of the Romantics. By bridging the divide between literature and science, and between Romanticism and narrow forms of Rationalism, economists can access grounding assumptions, models, and research methods suitable for comprehending the creativity and social dimensions of economic activity. This is a guide to how economists and other social scientists can broaden their analytical repertoire to encompass the vital role of sentiments, language, and imagination. (shrink)
Grounded theory is examined as a means of undertaking economics research that aims at theoretical development and generalization rather than testing established theories. Grounded theory encompasses a set of procedures for undertaking and analysing case studies--qualitative and quantitative--in a systematic and comparative manner. These procedures are set out, and illustrations of theory developed in close connection with business decision-making and industry competition are drawn from P.W.S. Andrews' post-Marshallian industry studies, Cyert and March's Behavioral Theory of the Firm , (...) and Sutton's analysis of market structures. Conclusions are drawn out regarding the nature of the relationship between testing established theory and making novel knowledge claims, the nature of knowledge held by those involved in economic phenomena, the nature of contexts of discovery and verification, and processes involved in making inferences. (shrink)
Bringing together some of the leading figures in the field of economic methodology and philosophy, this collection provides a thoughtful and balanced overview of the current state of debate about the status of economic knowledge. Representing the most current thinking on a topic of enduring interest to economists and philosophers and other social scientists, the book is notable for the extent to which authors from opposing schools of thought engage seriously with their opponents.
Providing health care in the most cost-effective way has become a priority in recent years. This book tackles the important issue of the potential conflict between economic expediency and the welfare of individual patients. Contributors examine different attitudes to this complex problem, along with a variety of legal and historical perspectives. The book addresses particular aspects of health care, such as medical expert systems, general practice, medical education, and clinical decision-making where the direct involvement of doctors in allocating scarce and (...) expensive resources is perhaps most obvious. (shrink)
Human agency -- Alienness : experiencing one's own incoherence -- Alienness, understanding, and self-deception -- God's project of self-deception -- Alienation and political agency -- How we fooled ourselves into believing in progress -- The monetary illusion -- The good life and economic activity -- Human activity : a molecular approach to action theory.
The concept of preference dominates economic theory today. It performs a triple duty for economists, grounding their theories of individual behavior, welfare, and rationality. Microeconomic theory assumes that individuals act so as to maximize their utility – that is, to maximize the degree to which their preferences are satisfied. Welfare economics defines individual welfare in terms of preference satisfaction or utility, and social welfare as a function of individual preferences. Finally, economists assume that the rational act is the act (...) that maximally satisfies an individual's preferences. The habit of framing problems in terms of the concept of preference is now so entrenched that economists rarely entertain alternatives. (shrink)
This target article is concerned with the implications of the surprisingly different experimental practices in economics and in areas of psychology relevant to both economists and psychologists, such as behavioral decision making. We consider four features of experimentation in economics, namely, script enactment, repeated trials, performance-based monetary payments, and the proscription against deception, and compare them to experimental practices in psychology, primarily in the area of behavioral decision making. Whereas economists bring a precisely defined “script” to experiments for (...) participants to enact, psychologists often do not provide such a script, leaving participants to infer what choices the situation affords. By often using repeated experimental trials, economists allow participants to learn about the task and the environment; psychologists typically do not. Economists generally pay participants on the basis of clearly defined performance criteria; psychologists usually pay a flat fee or grant a fixed amount of course credit. Economists virtually never deceive participants; psychologists, especially in some areas of inquiry, often do. We argue that experimental standards in economics are regulatory in that they allow for little variation between the experimental practices of individual researchers. The experimental standards in psychology, by contrast, are comparatively laissez-faire. We believe that the wider range of experimental practices in psychology reflects a lack of procedural regularity that may contribute to the variability of empirical findings in the research fields under consideration. We conclude with a call for more research on the consequences of methodological preferences, such as the use on monetary payments, and propose a “do-it-both-ways” rule regarding the enactment of scripts, repetition of trials, and performance-based monetary payments. We also argue, on pragmatic grounds, that the default practice should be not to deceive participants. Key Words: behavioral decision making; cognitive illusions; deception; experimental design; experimental economics; experimental practices; financial incentives; learning; role playing. (shrink)
In "Behavioral Law and Economics: The Assault on Consent, Will, and Dignity," Mark D. White uses the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant to examine the intersection of economics, psychology, and law known as "behavioral law and economics." Scholars in this relatively new field claim that, because of various cognitive biases and failures, people often make choices that are not in their own interests. The policy implications of this are that public and private organizations, such as the state (...) and employers, can and should design the presentation of options and default choices in order to "steer" people to the decision they would make, were they able to make choices in the absence of their cognitive biases and failures. Such policies are promoted under the name "libertarian paternalism," because choice is not blocked or co-opted, but simply "nudged." White argues that such manipulation of choice is impossible to conduct in people's true interests, and any other goal pursed by policymakers substitutes their own ends, however benevolent they may be, for people's true ends. Normatively, such manipulation should not be conducted because it fails to respect the dignity and autonomy of persons, what some hold to be the central idea in Kant's ethical system, and which serves to protect the individual from coercion, however subtle, from other persons or the state. (shrink)
This paper argues that a comparative study of the idea of a sense of justice in the work of John Rawls and the early Chinese philosopher Kongzi is mutually beneficial to our understanding of the thought of both figures. It also aims to provide an example of the relevance of moral psychology for basic questions in political philosophy. The paper offers an analysis of Rawls’s account of a sense of justice and its place within his theory of justice, focusing (...) on the features of this capacity and how it develops. It then provides an account of the sense of justice in Kongzi’s thought as it is seen in the Analects. Finally, it shows how examining the similarities and differences between the two accounts can deepen our understanding of both views, as well as our appreciation for the importance of understanding how a sense of justice develops. (shrink)
In this paper I examine Don Ross’s application of unificationism as a methodological criterion of theory appraisal in economics and cognitive science. Against Ross’s critique that explanations of the preference reversal phenomenon by the ‘heuristics and biases’ programme is ad hoc or ‘Ptolemaic’, I argue that the compatibility hypothesis, one of the explanations offerd by this programme, is theoretically and empirically well-motivated. A careful examination of this hypothesis suggests several strengths of a procedural approach to modelling cognitive processes underlying (...) individual decision making, compared to a multiple-agent approach which Ross promotes. I argue that the debate between economists and psychologists are both theoretical and empirical, but cannot be resolved by appealing to the ideal of unification. (shrink)
Following Amartya Sen’s insistence to expand the framework of rational choice theory by taking into account ‘non-utility information,’ economists, political scientists and philosophers have recently concentrated their efforts in analysing the issues related to rights, freedom, diversity intentions and equality. Thomas Boylan and Ruvin Gekker have gathered essays that reflect this trend. The particular themes addressed in this volume include: the measurement of diversity and freedom, formal analysis of individual rights and intentions, judgment aggregation under constraints and strategic manipulation in (...) fuzzy environments. Some papers in the volume also deal with philosophical aspects of normative social choice. (shrink)
We briefly describe ways in which neuroeconomics has made contributions to its contributing disciplines, especially neuroscience, and a specific way in which it could make future contributions to both. The contributions of a scientific research programme can be categorized in terms of (1) description and classification of phenomena, (2) the discovery of causal relationships among those phenomena, and (3) the development of tools to facilitate (1) and (2). We consider ways in which neuroeconomics has advanced neuroscience and economics along (...) each line. Then, focusing on electrophysiological methods, we consider a puzzle within neuroeconomics whose solution we believe could facilitate contributions to both neuroscience and economics, in line with category (2). This puzzle concerns how the brain assigns reward values to otherwise incomparable stimuli. According to the common currency hypothesis, dopamine release is a component of a neural mechanism that solves comparability problems. We review two versions of the common currency hypothesis, one proposed by Read Montague and colleagues, the other by William Newsome and colleagues, and fit these hypotheses into considerations of rational choice. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that the study of grammar is irrelevant or unimportant in the business of comparative philosophy, or that it ought to be avoided in favor of methods that presuppose a strongly pragmatic point of view. In this regard, some philosophers have expressed skepticism about whether facts about grammar have anything to offer in the adjudication of competing theories of interpretation or translation. This essay argues that a strongly pragmatic orientation in comparative philosophy invariably overlooks an (...) important role that the study of grammar can play in shedding light on the nature of intention and communicative practice, and that an essential part of the methodology of comparative philosophy should involve a grammatical approach to interpretation and translation. These points are supported by a semantical analysis of passages from Confucius’ Analects that clarifies the relationship between illocutionary force and grammatical mood. (shrink)
In a series of insightful publications, Philip Pettit and Frank Jackson have argued for an explanatory ecumenism that is designed to justify a variety of types of social scientific explanation of different “grains”, including structural and rational choice explanations. Their arguments are put in terms of different kinds of explanatory information; the distinction between causal efficacy, causal relevance and explanatory relevance within their program model of explanation; and virtual reality and resilience explanation. The arguments are here assessed from the point (...) of view of the illumination they are able to cast on the issue of economics imperialism, the project of privileging rational choice as a unifying basis for explanations. While the Jackson–Pettit arguments turn out to be helpful in specifying some of the ontological and pragmatic constraints on economics imperialism, they are also shown to conflate distinct dimensions in the purported explanantia (such as small grain and particular grain, and the macro and the existentially quantified) and thereby to miss an important class of individualist causal process explanations of social phenomena. (shrink)
Consumers of software often face an acquisition-mode decision, namely whether to purchase or pirate that software. In terms of consumer welfare, consumers who pirate software may stand in opposition to those who purchase it. Marketers also face a decision whether to attempt to thwart that piracy or to ignore, if not encourage it as an aid to their softwares diffusion, and policymakers face the decision whether to adopt interventionist policies, which are government-centric, or laissez faire policies, which are marketer-centric. Here (...) in order to assess the decision-making of all three of these stakeholders, we focus on the consumers point-of-view as central and examine it by considering on a comparative basis the ethical dimension versus other dimensions, including economic, legal, and other salient consumer behavior considerations. Based on a survey of 689 software consumers conducted over the Internet, the results indicate that ethics as a factor is embedded in a multidimensional set of determinant factors influencing software piracy, including attitudes, legal aspects, social support, perceptions of economic loss and age. Policy and research implications, based on these findings, are provided. (shrink)
This article considers the implications of complex systems models for the study of economics and the evaluation of public policies. I argue that complexity can enhance current approaches to formal economic analysis, but does so in ways that complement current approaches. I further argue that while complexity can influence how public policy analysis is conducted, it does not delimit the use of consequentialist approaches to policy comparison to the degree initially suggested by Hayek and most recently defended by Gaus.
The aim of this essay is to outline a conceptual framework for a type of philosophy (or approach to philosophy) to be herein called “non-sentential philosophy.” Although I will primarily concern myself with the conceptual coherence of the framework in this essay, illustrations will be provided to show that the notion has rich implications for comparative studies. In particular, I believe this theoretical framework will be of interest to those looking for a way to capture the differences between certain (...) non-Western philosophical traditions—such as Chinese philosophy—and Western philosophy, a tradition in which the sentential approach is dominant. (shrink)