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Economics as Moral Science : Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy - Bernard Hodgson

Economics as Moral Science

Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy

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Published: 18th October 2000
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Economics as Moral Science investigates the problem of the ethical neutrality of "mainstream" economic theory within the context of the methodology of economics as a science. Against the conventional wisdom, the author argues that there are serious moral presuppositions to the theory, but that economics could still count as a scientific or rational form of inquiry. The basic questions addressed - the ethical implications of economics, its status as a scientific mode of theory-construction, and the relation between these factors - are absolutely fundamental ones for an understanding of contemporary economics, the philosophy of the human sciences, and our current market culture. Moreover, the study provides a thorough philosophical analysis of the critical issues at stake from the inside, from the credible perspective of a particular, but foundational economic theory - the neoclassical theory of rational choice.

Acknowledgements
Introductionp. 1
Theory-Construction in Economic Sciencep. 6
Verification and Idealizationp. 9
Explanation and Necessary Truthp. 15
Necessary Generalizations and Corrigibilityp. 25
Rationality, Values, and Economic Theoryp. 30
Rationality and Meansp. 30
Rationality and Value-Ascriptionsp. 32
The Intransigence of Evaluative Conceptsp. 37
Excising Evaluative Conceptsp. 38
Explanatory Impoverishmentp. 41
Loss of Normative Applicabilityp. 44
The Ethical Content of "Formal" Structuresp. 49
Maximizing and Moral Optionsp. 51
Liberal or Illiberal Growth Ethicp. 54
Consumer "Consistency" and its Valuep. 56
Marshall: Rationality and Virtuep. 69
Teleology and Utilitarian Economicsp. 79
Utilitarianism and the "Reduction" of Purposive Explanationsp. 80
Mechanistic Confusionsp. 85
Ethical and Psychological Hedonismp. 87
Psychological Hedonism and Radical Behaviourism: A Thought Experimentp. 90
Functionalism and the "Systems Approach"p. 97
Functions and Moral Judgmentsp. 97
Functional Explanations and Value-Laden Theoriesp. 99
Functionalist Accounts of Economic Choice: Mechanism and Systems Theoryp. 102
The Concept of Equilibrium: Explanatory Adequacyp. 107
The Concept of Equilibrium: Normative Adequacyp. 114
Reasons, Causes, and Economic Methodologyp. 119
Rational and Causal Explanationp. 119
Necessary Connections, Causality, and Actionp. 122
Rational Causality, Deliberation and Intentional Systemsp. 131
Deliberation and Ethical Conservativismp. 135
Marx, Mill and "Eternal" Lawsp. 138
Justification, Obligation and Consumer Motivationp. 141
Reasons, Norms and Motivationsp. 143
Restructuring Choice Theory: Economic Rules and Psychological Sanctionsp. 149
Historical Background: Mill's Proofp. 153
The Problems Relatedp. 157
Cognitive Idealization and its Affective Implicationsp. 157
Normative Idealization and Necessary Truthp. 160
Economics and Empiricism: Myrdalp. 165
Ideal "Facts"p. 169
Essential Statements and Holistic Theoryp. 172
Relaxing the Axioms of Choice Theoryp. 172
Well-Behaved Orderings and Well-Behaved Individualsp. 175
General Equilibrium: Well-Behaved Individuals and the Common Goodp. 177
Well-Behaved Orderings and the Common Goodp. 180
Empirical Realism and Mathematical Rigourp. 185
Microeconomics and the "Quine-Duhem" Thesisp. 187
Economic Uncertainty and Logical Structurep. 191
Uncertainty and Normative Idealizationp. 191
Uncertainty and Necessary Truthp. 197
Simon: Maximizing and "Satisficing"p. 199
Maximizing and Regret Theoryp. 211
Economic Uncertainty and Consumer Autonomyp. 218
Hayek: Market Knowledge and Spontaneous Orderp. 219
Consumer Sovereignty and Epistemic Individualismp. 222
Product Complexity and Information Vectorp. 226
Inverting the Framep. 231
Consumer Bondage: Akrasia and Self-Deceptionp. 233
Autonomy and Adaptationp. 236
Autonomy and Paternalismp. 238
From Normative Theory to Empirical Sciencep. 245
Converting Economic Norms into Economic Factsp. 246
Methodological Implicationsp. 250
The Regulative Primacy of Value-Judgmentsp. 253
An Empiricist Rejoinderp. 256
Empiricism or Post-Empiricism?p. 257
Neo-classical Economics and Scientific Utopiasp. 262
Scientific Utopias and the Theory of Choicep. 262
An Objection: Reporting and Prescribing Valuesp. 264
Testing an Economic Utopiap. 268
Neo-classical Economics and the Rational Justifiability of Moral Principlesp. 276
Principles and Rational Decision-Proceduresp. 276
Non-cognitivism and Moral Argumentsp. 277
An Historical Disclaimer: Humep. 284
Limiting Reason: The Link with Neo-classical Economicsp. 287
Rationality and Basic Motivating Statesp. 290
Rational Ends and Moral Sciencep. 298
Conclusionp. 305
Notesp. 311
Referencesp. 357
Indexp. 374
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9783540410621
ISBN-10: 3540410627
Series: Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 382
Published: 18th October 2000
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg Gmbh & Co. Kg
Country of Publication: DE
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.7