Economic Analysis and Moral Philosophy

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 28, 1996 - Business & Economics - 249 pages
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Understanding moral philosophy can help one to do economics better, and philosophers can learn by drawing on economic insights and analytical tools. This book argues that standard views of rationality lead economists to espouse questionable moral principles, and discusses methods of economic evaluation in terms of welfare and other moral criteria. It also contains a brief discussion of the relevance of social choice and game theory to philosophy. There is a glossary and at the end of each chapter are suggestions for further reading.
 

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User Review  - feistyscot - LibraryThing

Uneven quality. There are a couple of invalid arguments in the book---inexcusable in a work of philosophy. The last chapter in particular is a tissue of confusions and doesn't, in fact, deal with the ... Read full review

Contents

Ethics and economics?
3
11 What are moral questions and how can they be answered?
4
12 How is moral philosophy relevant to economics?
6
13 Organization of this book
7
Two examples
9
22 The economic benefits of exporting pollution to LDCs
10
23 Where does ethics come in?
12
24 Should the World Bank encourage migration of dirty industries to LDCs?
14
Liberty rights equality and justice
117
Liberty rights and libertarianism
121
91 Freedom
122
92 What are rights?
125
93 The importance of rights
126
94 The justification of rights
127
95 Weighing rights liberties and welfare
128
96 Libertarianism
130

25 A more theoretical example
16
26 Conclusions
21
Rationality and morality
23
Rationality
27
32 Expected utility theory
30
33 Questions about utility theory
33
Rationality in positive and normative economics
38
42 Selfinterest preference satisfaction and welfare economics
41
43 Rationality and ethics in positive economics
45
44 Conclusions
49
Rationality norms and morality
51
51 Rationality and selfinterest
52
52 The influence of moral norms on economic behavior
53
53 How do norms motivate and what sustains them?
57
54 Philosophical implications
60
55 Morality and utility theory
62
on the rationality of morality
64
Welfare and consequences
67
Welfare
71
61 Theories of wellbeing
72
62 Is the standard view of welfare plausible?
73
63 Implications of taking wellbeing to be the satisfaction of preferences
75
64 Modifying the preferencesatisfaction view
80
65 Alternative theories of welfare
81
66 Conclusions
83
Efficiency
84
72 Efficiency as Pareto optimality
87
73 How welfare economics narrows normative questions
90
74 Costbenefit analysis
93
welfare economics in limbo
99
Utilitarianism and consequentialism
101
81 Clarifying utilitarianism
102
82 Justifying utilitarianism
106
83 Contemporary consequentialism
107
84 Is utilitarianism plausible?
110
85 Consequentialism and deontology
111
Should economists embrace utilitarianism?
114
Equality and egalitarianism
135
101 Why equalize?
136
102 Equality of what?
138
103 How important is equality?
148
Justice and contractualism
150
111 The social contract idea
151
Rawls theory of justice
153
David Gauthier
158
114 Other contractualist views
160
social contract reasoning and economics
161
Moral mathematics
163
Social choice theory
166
122 Social choice theory after Arrow
169
123 Social choice theory and moral philosophy
171
124 The paradox of the Paretian liberal
174
125 Nonwelfarist social choice theory
176
126 Conclusions
178
Game theory
180
132 Moral philosophy and some simple games
182
133 Paradoxes and difficulties
186
134 Bargaining theory and the social contract
190
Conclusion
195
Conclusion
197
141 Do transfers of pollution make people better off?
198
142 Utilitarianism
201
143 Other modes of evaluation
202
144 The overlapping generations example
206
145 Conclusion
207
How could ethics matter to economics?
209
Positive economics is valuefree
211
A3 How positive economics involves morality
214
A4 Conclusions
220
Glossary
221
References
227
Index
243
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About the author (1996)

Michael S. McPherson is President of Macalester College.

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