Ethics and Economics 15 (2) (2018)

It is common to muse over the perils of thinking like an economist. There is, we are told, something missing when we only weigh the costs and benefits of some options before us, and then choose the one that will lead to the greatest utility. Such a view is now commonplace in philosophy curriculums, and it has been defended, for example, by Michael Sandel, Debra Satz, and Elizabeth Anderson. This paper, conversely, explains how scholars regularly underestimate the extent to which economics applies to their viewpoint, and how the field of economics is frequently portrayed in a misleading way. It will make clear the perils of not thinking like an economist, especially for philosophers, and it will right the caricatures we can too often hear about economists. Both philosophers and economists think about the same issue, namely the question of value. Economics, however, examines the consequences of value judgments, and as such it is an essential feature of any practical proposition about value in society.
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