Teaching economic philosophy: Economics, ethics and the search for the right maximand

Economic philosophy is not often taught, and is not necessarily easily taught. It involves enquiry into implicit assumptions within orthodox economics and within alternatives to it. It seeks to highlight why it is that some critics object that neoclassical economics is too atomistic, hedonistic, and rationalistic, or why others lament that there is much hidden metaphysics in Friedman and his Chicago School colleagues. It addresses the issue of whether - in a reversal of the view that economics is the imperialistic social science - significant philosophical assumptions have been silently but inescapably imported into orthodox economics. This paper seeks to facilitate the presentation of such material with illustrations selected from social economics, development economics, and critiques of utilitarianism.
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