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Thomas R. Wells
Leiden University
Thomas R. Wells
Tilburg University
  1. The Path to Gun Control in America Goes Through Political Philosophy.Thomas R. Wells - 2019 - Public Philosophy Journal 2 (1).
    This essay argues that gun control in America is a philosophical as well as a policy debate. This explains the depth of acrimony it causes. It also explains why the technocratic public health argument favored by the gun control movement has been so unsuccessful in persuading opponents and motivating supporters. My analysis also yields some positive advice for advocates of gun control: take the political philosophy of the gun rights movement seriously and take up the challenge of showing that a (...)
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  2.  99
    Transformation Without Paternalism.Thomas R. Wells & John B. Davis - 2016 - Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 17 (3):360-376.
    Human development is meant to be transformational in that it aims to improve people's lives by enhancing their capabilities. But who does it target: people as they are or the people they will become? This paper argues that the human development approach relies on an understanding of personal identity as dynamic rather than as static collections of preferences, and that this distinguishes human development from conventional approaches to development. Nevertheless, this dynamic understanding of personal identity is presently poorly conceptualized and (...)
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  3. Review of Michael Sandel's What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, 256 Pp. [REVIEW]Thomas R. Wells - 2014 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):138-149.
    Michael Sandel’s latest book is not a scholarly work but is clearly intended as a work of public philosophy—a contribution to public rather than academic discourse. The book makes two moves. The first, which takes up most of it, is to demonstrate by means of a great many examples, mostly culled from newspaper stories, that markets and money corrupt—degrade—the goods they are used to allocate. The second follows from the first as Sandel’s proposed solution: we as a society should deliberate (...)
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  4. Adam Smith on Morality and Self-Interest.Thomas R. Wells - 2013 - In Christoph Luetge (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 281--296.
    Adam Smith is respected as the father of contemporary economics for his work on systemizing classical economics as an independent field of study in The Wealth of Nations. But he was also a significant moral philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, with its characteristic concern for integrating sentiments and rationality. This article considers Adam Smith as a key moral philosopher of commercial society whose critical reflection upon the particular ethical challenges posed by the new pressures and possibilities of commercial society remains (...)
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  5. Sen's Capability Approach.Thomas R. Wells - 2012 - In J. Feiser & B. Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This article focuses on the philosophical aspects of the Capability Approach and its foundations in the work of Amartya Sen. It discusses the development and structure of Sen’s account, how it relates to other ethical approaches, and its main contributions and criticisms. It also outlines various capability theories developed within the Capability Approach, with particular attention to that of Martha Nussbaum.
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  6.  50
    Exile the Rich!Thomas R. Wells - 2016 - Krisis 2016 (1):19-28.
    The rich have two defining capabilities: independence from and command over others. These make being wealthy very pleasant indeed, but they are also toxic to democracy. First, I analyse the mechanisms by which the presence of very wealthy individuals undermines the two pillars of liberal democracy, equality of citizenship and legitimate social choice. Second, I make a radical proposal. If we value the preservation of democracy we must limit the amount of wealth any individual can have and still be a (...)
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    In Pursuit of the Rarest of Birds: An Interview with Gilbert Faccarello.Gilbert Faccarello, Joost Hengstmengel & Thomas R. Wells - 2014 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):86-108.
    GILBERT JEAN FACCARELLO (Paris, 1950) is professor of economics at Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris, and a member of the Triangle research centre (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon and CNRS). He is presently chair of the ESHET Council (European Society for the History of Economic Thought). He completed his doctoral research in economics at Université de Paris X Nanterre. He has previously taught at the Université de Paris-Dauphine, Université du Maine and École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay/Saint-Cloud (now École Normale Supérieure de Lyon). (...)
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  8.  30
    Review of Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’T Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. [REVIEW]Thomas R. Wells - 2014 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):138-149.
  9.  16
    Theoretical and Practical Reason in Economics: Capacities and Capabilities. [REVIEW]Thomas R. Wells - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (2):202-207.
    (2014). Theoretical and practical reason in economics: capacities and capabilities. Journal of Economic Methodology: Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 202-207. doi: 10.1080/1350178X.2014.910937.
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  10.  9
    In Defense of Gun Control Hugh LaFollette Oxford University Press. New York City, 2018. 256 Pp. Isbn: 9780190873370. $30. [REVIEW]Thomas R. Wells - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (9):1098-1099.
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    In Adam Smith’s Own Words: The Role of Virtues in the Relationship Between Free Market Economies and Societal Flourishing, A Semantic Network Data-Mining Approach.Johan Graafland & Thomas R. Wells - 2020 - Journal of Business Ethics 2020.
    Among business ethicists, Adam Smith is widely viewed as the defender of an amoral if not anti-moral economics in which individuals’ pursuit of their private self-interest is converted by an ‘invisible hand’ into shared economic prosperity. This is often justified by reference to a select few quotations from The Wealth of Nations. We use new empirical methods to investigate what Smith actually had to say, firstly about the relationship between free market institutions and individuals’ moral virtues, and secondly about the (...)
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    Identity Problems: An Interview with John B. Davis.Thomas R. Wells & John B. Davis - 2012 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 5 (2):81-103.
    In this interview, professor Davis discusses the evolution of his career and research interests as a philosopher-economist and gives his perspective on a number of important issues in the field. He argues that historians and methodologists of economics should be engaged in the practice of economics, and that historians should be more open to philosophical analysis of the content of economic ideas. He suggests that the history of recent economics is a particularly fruitful and important area for research exactly because (...)
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    What Adam Smith Really Thought Should Not Matter.Thomas R. Wells - 2019 - Business Ethics Journal Review 7 (7):40-46.
    Hühn and Dierksmeier argue that a better understanding of Adam Smith’s work would improve business ethics research and education. I worry that their approach encourages two scholarly sins. First, anachronistic historiography in which we distort Smith’s ideas by making him answer questions about contemporary debates in CSR theory. Second, treating him as a prophet by assuming that finding out what Smith would have thought about it is the right way to answer such questions.
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    Recovering Adam Smith’s Virtue Ethics for Commercial Society.J. J. Graafland & Thomas R. Wells - 2017 - In A. J. G. Sison (ed.), Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. Dordrecht, Netherlands:
  15. Just End Poverty Now: The Case for a Global Minimum Income.Thomas R. Wells - 2019 - Basic Income Studies 14 (2).
    Global GDP is more than 100 trillion dollars, yet 10 % of the world’s population still live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day. No one should have to live like that: alleviating poverty is a minimal moral obligation implied by nearly every secular and religious moral system. Unfortunately, neither economic growth nor conventional international aid can be relied upon to fulfil this obligation. A global basic income programme that transferred $1 per day from the rich world to (...)
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  16. Reasoning About Development: Essays on Amartya Sen's Capability Approach.Thomas R. Wells - 2013 - Dissertation, Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Over the last 30 years the Indian philosopher-economist Amartya Sen has developed an original normative approach to the evaluation of individual and social well-being. The foundational concern of this ‘capability approach’ is the real freedom of individuals to achieve the kind of lives they have reason to value. This freedom is analysed in terms of an individual’s ‘capability’ to achieve combinations of such intrinsically valuable ‘beings and doings’ (‘functionings’) as being sufficiently nourished and freely expressing one’s political views. In this (...)
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