The Philosophy of Debt

Routledge (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I owe you a dinner invitation, you owe ten years on your mortgage, and the government owes billions. We speak confidently about these cases of debt, but is that concept clear in its meaning? This book aims to clarify the concept of debt so we can find better answers to important moral and political questions. This book seeks to accomplish two things. The first is to clarify the concept of debt by examining how the word is used in language. The second is to develop a general, principled account of how debts generate genuine obligations. This allows us to avoid settling each case by a bare appeal to moral intuitions, which is what we seem to currently do. It requires a close examination of many institutions, e.g. money, contract law, profit-driven finance, government fiscal operations, and central banking. To properly understand the moral and political nature of debt, we must understand how these institutions have worked, how they do work, and how they might be made to work. There have been many excellent anthropological and sociological studies of debt and its related institutions. Philosophy can contribute to the emerging discussion and help us to keep our language precise and to identify the implicit principles contained in our intuitions



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,678

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The philosophy of debt.Alexander Douglas - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:43-44.
La dette: réalité de sa crise et crise de son concept.Christophe Perrin - 2017 - Phänomenologische Forschungen 2017 (1):55-76.
Toward a theory of moral debt:(I)The idea of moral debt in the common understanding.Morris B. Storer - 1971 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 14 (1-4):355-385.
Fairness in Sovereign Debt.Christian Barry & Lydia Tomitova - 2006 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 73:649-694.
Fairness in Sovereign Debt.Christian Barry & Lydia Tomitova - 2007 - Ethics and International Affairs 21 (s1):41-79.
Human Capabilities and the Ethics of Debt.Kate Padgett-Walsh & Justin Lewiston - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (2):1-21.


Added to PP

10 (#1,233,539)

6 months
6 (#738,372)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alexander Douglas
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

Financial Power and Democratic Legitimacy.Janosch Prinz & Enzo Rossi - 2022 - Social Theory and Practice 48 (1):115-140.
The Right to Credit.Marco Meyer - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (3):304-326.
Making sense of Alternative Currencies: a summary.Louis Larue - 2019 - Reflets Et Perspectives de la Vie Économique 57 (4):63-72.
What Money Is and Ought To Be.David G. Dick - 2020 - Journal of Social Ontology 6 (2):293-313.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references