Ethics, Rationality, and Economic Behaviour

Hardcover | March 1, 1995

EditorFrancesco Farina, Frank Hahn, Stefano Vannucci

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The connection between economics and ethics is as old as economics itself, and central to both disciplines. It is an issue that has recently attracted much interest from economists and philosophers. The connection is, in part, a result of the desire of economists to make policyprescriptions, which clearly require some normative criteria. More deeply, much economic theory is founded on the assumption of utility maximization, thereby creating an immediate connection between the foundations of economics and the philosophical literature on utilitarianism and reasons foraction. In fact, some influential contemporary approaches to ethics advocate decision-theoretic or game-theoretic foundations of some sort for moral principles, while several economic theorists are now prepared to take into account the ethical dimensions of rational decisions. As a result, itappears that economics and ethics are somehow inextricably linked through theories of rational decision-making. Most of us would probably find it disturbing to concede that there are contradictions between the prescriptions of rationality and the requirements of moral `rightness'. The essays included in the present volume provide a detailed analysis of the connections between ethics and economics as viewedfrom several different - sometimes conflicting - perspectives. This book, the outcome of a joint meeting of philosophers and economists, has three main themes: the validity of utilitarianism much used by economists, the notion of fairness and equity, and the coherence of the rationality postulate ofeconomics. The book does not reach any final conclusions, but it greatly illuminates the exact areas of possible disagreement and indeed the open-ended nature of ethical reasoning. There is much that economists, and especially welfare economists, can learn from these papers - not leastcircumspection.

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From Our Editors

The connection between economics and ethics is as old as economics itself, and central to both disciplines. It is an issue that has recently attracted much interest from economists and philosophers. The connection is, in part, a result of the desire of economists to make policy prescriptions, which clearly require some normative criter...

From the Publisher

The connection between economics and ethics is as old as economics itself, and central to both disciplines. It is an issue that has recently attracted much interest from economists and philosophers. The connection is, in part, a result of the desire of economists to make policyprescriptions, which clearly require some normative crite...

Francesco Farina is at University of Siena. Frank Hahn is at University of Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:360 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:March 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198289812

ISBN - 13:9780198289814

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From Our Editors

The connection between economics and ethics is as old as economics itself, and central to both disciplines. It is an issue that has recently attracted much interest from economists and philosophers. The connection is, in part, a result of the desire of economists to make policy prescriptions, which clearly require some normative criteria. More deeply, much economic theory is founded on the assumption of utility maximization, thereby creating an immediate connection between the foundations of economics and the philosophical literature on utilitarianism and reasons for action. In fact, some influential contemporary approaches to ethics advocate decision-theoretic or game-theoretic foundations of some sort for moral principles, while several economic theorists are now prepared to take into account the ethical dimensions of rational decisions. As a result, it appears that economics and ethics are somehow inextricably linked through theories of rational decision-making. This book, the outcome of a joint workshop of economists and philosophers, offers an overview of the

Editorial Reviews

...a formidable overview of the current academic debate on the relationship between economics and ethics...the editors provide a useful, critical summary of the contributions of the distinguished participants which give the reader the incentive to tackle this set of rigorous andintellectually challenging papers. - Theodore Tsukahara. St Mary's College of California.