dunnettreader + self-interest   36

Spencer J. Pack, Eric Schliesser - Smith's Humean Criticism of Hume's Account of the Origin of Justice (2006) | Project MUSE
From: Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 44, Number 1, January 2006 pp. 47-63 | 10.1353/hph.2006.0004 *--* It is argued that Adam Smith criticizes David Hume's account of the origin of and continuing adherence to the rule of law for being not sufficiently Humean. ["Humean" is used for his tendency to use proto-evolutionary explanations of social phenomena in terms of psychological and material factors acting on individuals rather than rationalistic explanations] Hume explained that adherence to the rule of law originated in the self-interest to restrain self-interest. [Treatise 3.2.2,13-14, 316] [Smith says Hume's account is "too refined - TMS II, ii.3.5 ] According to Smith, Hume does not pay enough attention to the "unsocial" passion of resentment and the passion of admiration, which have their source in the imagination. Smith's offers a more naturalistic and evolutionary account [more Humean than Hume] of the psychological pre-conditions of the establishment and morality of justice. Yet, Smith's account also makes room for a thin conception of Lockean natural right to property, while rejecting the contractualist and rationalistic elements in Locke. It emerges that Smith severs the intimate connection that Hobbes and Hume made between justice and property. - paywall
article  paywall  intellectual_history  moral_philosophy  human_nature  18thC  Smith  Hume  justice  passions  imagination  resentment  property  property_rights  self-interest  Hobbes  self-protection  Locke-2_Treatises  natural_law  natural_rights 
february 2016 by dunnettreader
Branko Milanovic - All our needs are social | Global Inequality - August 2015
Branko Milanovic dismantles Harry Frankfurt's attempt to differentiate our "real" needs - where considerations of inequality purportedly aren't relevant, or even are counterproductive to our full self/realization -- and "social " needs where some consideration of correcting for those below some certain level is appropriate. It's a common but incoherent philosophical move -- I blame Rousseau!
inequality  amour_propre  economic_culture  self-interest  self-love  capabilities  inequality-opportunity  sociability  analytical_philosophy  socialization  Rousseau  bad_economics  authenticity  moral_philosophy  self-development  from instapaper
september 2015 by dunnettreader
Paul Frijters - An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks | Cambridge University Press - March 2013
PaperbackISBN: 9781107678941 $63.95 inc GST --;Why are people loyal? How do groups form and how do they create incentives for their members to abide by group norms? Until now, economics has only been able to partially answer these questions. In this groundbreaking work, Paul Frijters presents a new unified theory of human behaviour. To do so, he incorporates comprehensive yet tractable definitions of love and power, and the dynamics of groups and networks, into the traditional mainstream economic view. The result is an enhanced view of human societies that nevertheless retains the pursuit of self-interest at its core. This book provides a digestible but comprehensive theory of our socioeconomic system, which condenses its immense complexity into simplified representations. The result both illuminates humanity's history and suggests ways forward for policies today, in areas as diverse as poverty reduction and tax compliance.
books  economic_theory  economic_models  economic_sociology  utility  rationality-economics  behavioral_economics  networks  action-theory  self-interest  altruism  power  loyalty 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Lee Anne Fennell, Richard H. McAdams, eds. - Fairness in Law and Economics: Introduction :: SSRN - (Edward Elgar 2013)
Lee Anne Fennell and Richard H. McAdams, both University of Chicago Law School -- University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 704 -- This introduction, prepared for an edited volume, offers some observations on the importance — indeed, inescapability — of fairness concerns in law and economics. The relationship between fairness and the economic concept of efficiency is usually cast as an adversarial one. Rational choice economics typically describes human behavior as motivated by simple self-interest, rather than by concerns of morality, justice, or fairness. But we have found that the connections between concepts of fairness and the economic analysis of law are robust and diverse. After discussing some of these linkages, we describe the organization and content of the volume we have compiled. In it, economics engages with fairness, challenging the idea that the two concepts are alien to each other. -- PDF File: 18 -- Keywords: fairness, law and economics -- downloaded pdf to Note
chapter  books  SSRN  law-and-economics  behavioral_economics  game_theory  rational_choice  rationality-economics  fairness  efficiency  welfare_economics  self-interest  altruism  microeconomics  policymaking  legal_system  legal_theory  legal_reasoning  utility  status_quo_bias  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Raymond Boudon - Utilité ou Rationalité (2002) | Scribd
21 page article -- Explains why "rational choice" fails as explanatory theory in lots of collective action, public opinion, game theory, etc. -- domains where decisions to act aren't based exclusively on instrumental, consequentialist, cost-benefit calculative, and egoistic (directly concerned with impact on self) forms of, and context for, reasoning. Boudon finds "rational choice" superior to hand-wavy explanations that are speculative "black boxes" -- e.g. (1) sociobiology or evo-devo that we're hardwired, (2) Kahneman and Tversky heuristics and biases -- fascinating observations but aren't explanatory, (3) social/cultural explanations such as "socialization" which are tautological or a black box that provide no mechanisms that can differentiate situations or variations in outcomes. E.g. in Roman Empire peasants were more likely to remain pagan and soldiers were more likely to be attracted to the new religion. "Socialization" doesn't explain why soldiers raised in the traditional religious milieu and belief system were more likely to change their beliefs. Great examples of how rationality includes cognitive processes dealing with (1) non-instrumental contexts - e.g. identification with communitarian concerns ranging from voting to immigration policies, (2) aligning actions with one's judgment of what's more likely "true" based on core beliefs and how one has learned to evaluate "evidence" [e.g. Swedes are even more likely to reject "lump of labor" than Americans!] (3) axiological reasoning, including norms of fairness that may be fairly universal (e.g. reaction to Antigone, ultimatum game) or specific to a culture (e.g. due process in political application of "rule of law") -- see article for his tripartite classification of rationality and types of cognition that "rational choice" rejects in its definition. He thinks Weber and Adam Smith got there before, and better than, Becker.
article  Scribd  social_theory  mechanisms-social_theory  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality-bounded  rationality  reasons  Weber  Smith  Becker_Gary  Simon_Herbert  fairness  community  identity  norms  epistemology-social  game_theory  altruism  cognitive_bias  cognition  cognition-social  democracy  citizens  voting  political_participation  collective_action  political_culture  public_choice  public_opinion  common_good  socialization  social_psychology  cost-benefit  self-interest  self-interest-cultural_basis  self-and-other  EF-add 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
Herbert A. Simon - Altruism and Economics (May, 1993) | JSTOR - The American Economic Review
Herbert A. Simon,The American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred and Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1993), pp. 156-161 -- overview of how he models "utility" to handle bounded rationality, and how groups need to be included in utility behavior models to get at "altruism" or preferences for other-regarding behavior -- basic message is public choice and rational choice have such an impoverished concept of "rationality" they will never be able to get their axiomatic models to work with what requires rich empirical observations -- doesn't say it, but their limited concept of rationality is less an empirically verified theory re how the world works, but rather a bundle of normative assumptions -- and when they try to extend what's really prescriptive to areas like the family, they've gotten way outside their lane -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  jstor  economic_theory  economic_sociology  microeconomics  behavioral_economics  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality-bounded  rationality-adaptive  Darwinism  evolution-as-model  evolution-social  evolution-group_selection  self-interest  altruism  utility  public_choice  Simon_Herbert  downloaded 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
Lisa Herzog Inventing the Market: Smith, Hegel, and Political Theory (OUP 2013) | The Book Depository
Inventing the Market: Smith, Hegel, and Political Theory analyses the constructions of the market in the thought of Adam Smith and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and discusses their relevance for contemporary political philosophy. Combining the history of ideas with systematic analysis, it contrasts Smith's view of the market as a benevolently designed 'contrivance of nature' with Hegel's view of the market as a 'relic of the state of nature.' The differences in their views of the market are then connected to four central themes of political philosophy: identity, justice, freedom, and history. The conceptualization of the labour market as an exchange of human capital or as a locus for the development of a professional identity has an impact on how one conceptualizes the relation between individual and community. Comparing Smith's and Hegel's views of the market also helps to understand how social justice can be realized through or against markets, and under what conditions it makes sense to apply a notion of desert to labour market outcomes. For both authors, markets are not only spaces of negative liberty, but are connected to other aspects of liberty, such as individual autonomy and political self-government, in subtle and complex ways. Seeing Smith's and Hegel's account of the market as historical accounts, however, reminds us that markets are no a-historical phenomena, but depend on cultural and social preconditions and on the theories that are used to describe them. The book as a whole argues for becoming more conscious of the pictures of the market that have shaped our understanding, which can open up the possibility of alternative pictures and alternative realities. -- see 3AM interview April 2015
books  intellectual_history  18thC  19thC  Smith  Hegel  political_philosophy  political_economy  economic_history  economic_theory  economic_sociology  economic_culture  social_theory  liberty  liberty-negative  autonomy  labor  Labor_markets  social_order  justice  identity  self-government  self-development  self-interest  self-fashioning  state-of-nature  Providence  invisible_hand 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
John D. Wilkins, review - Neil Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th Century (1999) | Technology and Society Book Reviews
In Building a Bridge to the 18th Century, Neil Postman weaves an interesting tale on the development of a new "conversation" that Americans should commence. His book was an enjoyable read, and it re-ignites debate over policy questions and knowledge claims in the process of decision making. However, in formulating his arguments, he ran afoul, as so many do, in misconstruing the meaning of social construction and the manner in which society constructs knowledge. At the same time, Postman correctly articulates 'a crisis in narrative' (p.113). His story is best understood in the context of a manifesto that sees current narratives as inadequate for the future development of a healthy society. He sees a loss of meaning in our stories and reminds us that the 18th century is a social location that provides a foundation from which to launch a new conversation in order to restore a more meaningful social life. His manifesto does not seem to be interested in contemplation or conversation as he implies. Instead, I will argue that Postman is looking for efficiency and efficacy, and advocating his perspective from an ethnocentric foundation. I will attempt to provide the notion that there are multiple stories to be told, and that retelling one can be another form of advocating the status quo. In this review, I will focus on Postman's arguments for healthy skepticism, some of his contradictions, the notion of individualism and egoism, and the misconstruction of postmodern thought. -- downloaded as pdf to Note
books  reviews  kindle-available  cultural_critique  21stC  18thC  Enlightenment  philosophes  social_theory  constructivism  intellectual_history  Tocqueville  narrative  narrative-contested  conservation  postmodern  scepticism  scepticism-Academic  sociology_of_knowledge  sociology_of_science_&_technology  science-and-politics  science-public  individualism  self-interest  self-interest-cultural_basis  community  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Donald Frey, review - Gabriel Abend, Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics (2014) | EH.net Review - August 2014
Princeton University Press, 2014. ix + 399 pp., ISBN: 978-0-691-15944-7. -- Donald E. Frey, Department of Economics, Wake Forest University, author of America’s Economic Moralists: A History of Rival Ethics and Economics (SUNY Press, 2009). -- Gabriel Abend argues that a range of cultural beliefs and thought patterns provide an influential “moral background” as context for the more obvious everyday morality. Most of his book looks at business ethics during the period from the 1850s through the 1930s through the lens of the moral background concept. (..) In my own work on economic moralists, something like a “moral background” appeared to be enlightening. My thesis was that economic moralities (yes, two competing moralities, just as Abend deals with two competing business ethics) drew support from alternative economic theories (again differing economic theories, just as Abend has different moral backgrounds). Perhaps economic theory is a much narrower kind of “moral background” than Abend envisions, but it is a reasonable proxy for a moral background. It is a distinct body of thought, often familiar — in one form or another — to much of the population. And economic theory can indeed support or undermine some kinds of moralities (for example, if economic outcomes are viewed as the efficient work of impersonal markets, moral concerns for equity are put on the defensive). I think Abend might have described a convincing moral foundation in Chapter 6, perhaps by linking the Standards school to antecedents such as Benjamin Franklin (briefly noted in Chapter 2), and to ideas that were abroad in economics. Abend, I think, has a good concept, and is at least partially successful.
books  reviews  18thC  19thC  20thC  US_history  business-ethics  norms  norms-business  morality-conventional  morality-Christian  utilitarianism  Franklin_Ben  economic_theory  economic_sociology  economic_culture  education-higher  professionalization  managerialism  self-interest  self-regulation  lobbying  business-and-politics  business_practices  business_schools  business_influence  market_fundamentalism  invisible_hand  efficiency  cultural_history  fairness  elites  EF-add 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Geoffrey Jones (HBS Working Papers 2013) - Debating the Responsibility of Capitalism in Historical and Global Perspective
This working paper examines the evolution of concepts of the responsibility of business in a historical and global perspective. It shows that from the nineteenth century American, European, Japanese, Indian and other business leaders discussed the responsibilities of business beyond making profits, although until recently such views have not been mainstream. There was also a wide variation concerning the nature of this responsibility. This paper argues that four factors drove such beliefs: spirituality; self-interest; fears of government intervention; and the belief that governments were incapable of addressing major social issues.

Keywords: Rachel Carson; Sustainability; Local Food; Operations Management; Supply Chain; Business And Society; Business Ethics; Business History; Corporate Philanthropy; Corporate Social Responsibility; Corporate Social Responsibility And Impact; Environmentalism; Environmental Entrepreneurship; Environmental And Social Sustainability; Ethics; Globalization; History; Religion; Consumer Products Industry; Chemical Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Energy Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Forest Products Industry; Green Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Asia; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; North and Central America; Africa
paper  downloaded  economic_history  business_history  imperialism  US  British_Empire  France  Germany  Japan  Spain  Dutch  Latin_America  Ottoman_Empire  India  18thC  19thC  20thC  corporate_citizenship  corporate_governance  business  busisness-ethics  business-and-politics  common_good  communitarian  environment  labor  patriarchy  paternalism  labor_standards  regulation  product_safety  inequality  comparative_economics  capital_as_power  capitalism  CSR  political_economy  economic_culture  economic_sociology  self-interest  ideology 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Liberty Matters: Hugo Grotius on War and the State (March 2014) - Online Library of Liberty
This online discussion is part of the series “Liberty Matters: A Forum for the Discussion of Matters pertaining to Liberty.” Fernando R. Tesón, a professor at Florida State University College of Law, explores what Grotius thought about the proper relationship between the laws of nature and the laws of nations, what limits (if any) can be legitimately and rightly placed on the conduct of states engaged in war, and what relevance his insights may have today. Responding to his essay are Hans W. Blom, Paul Carrese, and Eric Mack. -- downloaded ebook to Note
etexts  17thC  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  legal_history  human_nature  international_law  natural_law  natural_rights  natural_religion  property_rights  just_war  navigation  trade  colonialism  war  Dutch_Revolt  Dutch  VOC  commercial_law  state-of-nature  consent  legitimacy  social_contract  sociability  self-interest  self-defense  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature - trans. John Maxwell (1727), ed. Jon Parkin - Online Library of Liberty
Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, translated, with Introduction and Appendix, by John Maxwell (1727), edited and with a Foreword by Jon Parkin (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). 07/11/2014. <http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1353> -- A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, originally titled De Legibus Naturae, first appeared in 1672 as a theoretical response to a range of issues that came together during the late 1660s. It conveyed a conviction that science might offer an effective means of demonstrating both the contents and the obligatory force of the law of nature. At a time when Hobbes’s work appeared to suggest that the application of science undermined rather than supported the idea of obligatory natural law, Cumberland’s De Legibus Naturae provided a scientific explanation of the natural necessity of altruism. -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  etexts  17thC  moral_philosophy  natural_law  human_nature  obligation  Hobbes  Cumberland  Restoration  self-interest  altruism  necessity  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Tom Leng, review - Brodie Waddell. God, Duty and Community in English Economic Life, 1660-1720 (2012) | H-Net Reviews April 2013
In his first book, Brodie Waddell seeks to bring the realm of culture to bear upon the economic life of late Stuart England. This period has tended to be subsumed within the story of how the “moral economy” was vanquished by the market in the 18thC, to the neglect of what Waddell sees as its distinctive econom -- a larger question for historians interested in reconciling the cultural and the economic: what do we do with the concept of “interest”? ...is there a danger of replacing the “undersocialized” caricature of “homo economicus” with economic actors that sociologists would describe as “oversocialized,” the passive bearers of internalized norms and values? Doubtless “religiously inspired archetypes ... left an indelible impression on the economic lives of ordinary people”, but we should not neglect the role of material self-advancement or preservation (and other forms of “acquisitive” behavior—the acquisition of reputation, for example) as a motive force in economic life. ...we need to find a place for “interest,” which, after all, was a concept with which early modern English people were very familiar. -- But a full picture of economic lives and cultures needs to consider the interaction of potentially rival values and those who bore them. And this links back to the changing economic context of the period. Increasing engagement in long-distance markets could encourage farmers or manufacturers to refashion their communal loyalties in a way that undermined neighborly commitments; participation in the emerging stock market might suggest a different scale of economic values to those recounted in this book. -- the volume of printed attacks on various forms of economic immorality might suggest that the confrontation of divergent moral economies was far from uncommon in the period. In which case, does the clash between the market and other moral economies, if not the moral economy, have some explanatory power still?
books  reviews  historiography  change-social  17thC  18thC  British_history  economic_history  economic_culture  interest_groups  community  patriarchy  religious_culture  religion-established  religious_lit  religious_belief  mercantilism  local_government  local_politics  elites  popular_culture  moral_economy  self-interest  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
A. M. C. Waterman - Economics as Theology: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations | JSTOR: Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Apr., 2002), pp. 907-921
Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations may be read as a work of natural theology similar in general style to Newton's Principia. Smith's ambiguous use of the word "nature" and its cognates implies an intended distinction between a positive sense in which "natural" means "necessary" and a normative sense in which "natural" means "right." The "interest" by which humans are motivated is "natural" in the first sense, but it may not bring about social outcomes that are "natural" in the second sense. It will do so only if the social institutions within which agents seek their own "interest" are well formed. Smith provides a large-scale, quasi-historical account of the way in which well-formed institutions gradually develop as unintended consequences of private "interest." In so doing, he provides a theodicy of economic life that is cognate with St. Augustine's theodicy of the state as remedium peccatorum. -- interesting bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  theology  political_economy  18thC  Scottish_Enlightenment  Smith  theodicy  institutions  political_culture  economic_culture  economic_history  stadial_theories  self-interest  Augustine  natural_religion  moral_philosophy  moral_sentiments  commerce-doux  common_good  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Frederick Neuhouser, review - Lee MacLean, The Free Animal: Rousseau on Free Will and Human Nature // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // Feb 2014
Two interpretive questions guide MacLean's study: first, whether Rousseau's ascription of free will to humans, especially in the Second Discourse, is to be taken at face value (rather than as part of an esoteric strategy to hide his "true" view from the masses); and second, what implications the ascription or non-ascription of free will has for interpreting his moral and political thought. -- most of book on No. 1, to counter Straussians esoteric reading -- The textual arguments offered here are deft and attentive to nuance, and, unlike most treatments of Rousseau by philosophers, they cover not only his three central philosophical texts, but also less studied works such as Reveries of the Solitary Walker. Chapter 3 contains one of the best extended treatments of Emile's "Savoyard Vicar" that I have read. -- Especially intriguing is the suggestion that the religious views expressed by the Vicar are to be read as playing a crucial role in The Social Contract's argument that a legitimate republic requires a civil religion. -- She demonstrates a sure and confident grasp of Rousseau's texts, including unpublished material. Even more impressive, she knows a surprising amount about the views of Rousseau's contemporaries and predecessors on the topic of free will - Buffon, Montaigne, and Condillac, for example - and she very helpfully brings this knowledge to bear on her carefully constructed interpretations of Rousseau. For this reason her book is a must-read for scholars interested in the historical context within which Rousseau's views develop.
books  reviews  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  social_theory  human_nature  18thC  Rousseau  free_will  self-love  self-interest  civil_religion  social_contract  Buffon  Condillac  Montaigne  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Bernard Yack: The Art of Theory : the art of theory – a quarterly journal of political philosophy
Includes discussion of his Nationlism and the Moral Psychology of Community (Chicago UP, 2012) -- on kindle. Interesting on Aristotle as realist political philosopher in Bernard Williams sense. Judith Shklar was his dissertation adviser. -- downloaded as pdf to Note
books  kindle  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  moral_psychology  community  communitarian  liberalism  individualism  self-interest  altruism  cosmopolitanism  global_governance  nationalism  national_ID  legitimacy  democracy  sovereignty  EF-add  downloaded 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Franklin A. Kalinowski - David Hume on the Philosophic Underpinnings of Interest Group Politics | JSTOR: Polity, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Spring, 1993), pp. 355-374
This article explores Hume's theory of passion and interest, which for him were simply two sides of the same philosophical phenomenon. The significant distinction, the author argues, is that between the violent passions, embodied in short-range private interests, and the calm passions, reflected in long-range public interests. The goal of politics for Hume is then to construct a system in which the calm passions and public interests could be achieved in a society wherein all individuals exercise violent passions by seeking their self interests. The author assesses the implications of this view of Hume for the analysis of the thought of James Madison. -- see Vermeule who disagrees -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  18thC  Hume-politics  Hume-ethics  self-interest  ambition  interest_groups  US_constitution  Madison  downloaded  EF-add  English_constitution 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Adrian Vermeule - Hume's Second-Best Constitutionalism | JSTOR: The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Winter, 2003), pp. 421-437
Hume is wrongly remembered for the "knavery principle" of constitutional design - but he thought Britain's mixed constitution was flawed but could work with modifications as second best -- not perfect but more achievable and workable. It's his introduction of the second best for which he should be remembered. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  constitutionalism  18thC  British_history  British_politics  mixed_government  self-interest  Whigs-oligarchy  Whigs-opposition  checks-and-balances  downloaded  EF-add  English_constitution 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Jeffrey Church - Selfish and Moral Politics: David Hume on Stability and Cohesion in the Modern State | JSTOR: The Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 169-181
In Hume's dialogue with the Hobbesian-Mandevillian "selfish system" of morals, Hume seems to reject its conclusions in morals, but accept them in politics. No skeptic of moral claims like Mandeville, Hume sought to ground objective moral standards in his moral sentiment philosophy, yet, like Mandeville, Hume argued that in political life human beings act based largely on self-interest and a limited generosity. I argue that Hume, however, is ultimately ambivalent about the selfish system's conclusions in politics. He puts forth both a nonmoral and a moral solution to the problem of cohesion in modern liberal states. First, he agrees with the selfish system's nonmoral tactic of channeling the self-interest of citizens through well-constructed institutions toward salutary ends. Second, arguing that the first solution is insufficient for the health of a political regime, Hume seeks to expand the limited moral sense of citizens through moral and aesthetic education and through an empowerment of local politics. Hume's second solution is a means within liberalism to combat its own tendencies toward the dissolution of communal ties and the creation of conditions ripe for the emergence of "sensible knaves." Bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  18thC  Hume-politics  Hume-ethics  self-interest  social_order  commerce-doux  moral_sentiments  civic_virtue  education-civic  community  liberalism  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Amy R. McCready - The Ethical Individual: An Historical Alternative to Contemporary Conceptions of the Self | JSTOR: The American Political Science Review, Vol. 90, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 90-102
In this article I offer an historically situated model of the self as an alternative to liberal, communitarian, and Foucauldian conceptions. Through the example of John Milton, I show that the conscience gave rise to a self that was jointly individual and ethical. By participating in public debates at the behest of his conscience, Milton recognized himself as an individual possessor of moral authority. Conscience thus liberated Milton from traditional identifications and beliefs as it bound him to act for his society. The self founded on conscience therefore differs from both communitarian and liberal variants. Moreover, whereas conscience in the Foucauldian account renders the self docile, it empowers the self in my account. I conclude that the self predicated on conscience challenges the divisions between private and public realms, self-regarding and prosocial actions, and self-creating and culturally determined persons. -- lots of interesting references re self Taylor etc, communitarian debates, 17thC notions of conscience -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  political_philosophy  liberalism  communitarian  individualism  pluralism  conscience  moral_philosophy  self-interest  altruism  political_participation  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Gowdy et al - Economic cosmology and the evolutionary challenge | Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Special Issue 2013
2nd lead articl5 -- downloaded pdf to Note -- The intellectual histories of economics and evolutionary biology are closely intertwined because both subjects deal with living, complex, evolving systems. Because the subject matter is similar, contemporary evolutionary thought has much to offer to economics. In recent decades theoretical biology has progressed faster than economics in understanding phenomena like hierarchical processes, cooperative behavior, and selection processes in evolutionary change. This paper discusses three very old “cosmologies” in Western thought, how these play out in economic theory, and how evolutionary biology can help evaluate their validity and policy relevance. These cosmologies are: (1) “natural man” as a rational, self-sufficient, egotistical individual, (2) competition among individuals can lead to a well-functioning society, and (3) there exists an ideal optimal state of nature. These correspond to Colander et al. (2004) “holy trinity of orthodox economics”, rationality, greed, and equilibrium. It is argued below that current breakthroughs in evolutionary biology and neuroscience can help economics go beyond these simple cosmologies.

They equate Pope’s Essay (self love and social are the same) with Mandeville Fable of the Bees
paper  journal  intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  Western_civ  natural_law  cosmology  Providence  self-interest  competition  markets  economic_theory  economic_sociology  economic_culture  evolution-social  biocultural_evolution  evo_psych  evolution-as-model  reason  rationality-economics  rational_choice  downloaded  EF-add  equilibrium  complexity  Smith  Pope  Mandeville 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Steven Pressman, review - Liana Vardi: The Physiocrats and the World of the Enlightenment.| EH.net
Liana Vardi, The Physiocrats and the World of the Enlightenment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. viii + 315 pp. $99 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-107-02119-8.

Reviewed for EH.Net by Steven Pressman, Department of Economics, Monmouth University. A second generation of Physiocrats focused on education as a means to harmonize the instincts of man and the needs of society. Yet a fine line separates education and indoctrination. At many times, the Physiocrats crossed this line. When it became a harsh doctrine, using state coercion to change the moral values of French citizens, people developed second thoughts about Physiocracy.

Vardi does an excellent job explaining how Physiocracy became a strange sort of religious doctrine, seeking to convince people to act according to the dictates of the natural order for the benefit of France. It failed because it never convinced people to behave in ways that would promote growth and could not get government officials to institute appropriate policies to help achieve this end. At bottom, its problem was a model that was far too complex and out of touch to achieve its main goal.

Vardi?s biographical essays give her story a distinctive human touch as well as an historical context. However, her training as an historian and her lack of understanding of the Tableau are somewhat of a hindrance. Like Hamlet in Tom Stoppard?s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the Tableau sits in the background as we watch other characters perform.
books  reviews  intellectual_history  political_history  economic_history  18thC  France  French_Enlightenment  Louis_XV  Louis_XVI  Physiocrats  economic_theory  moral_philosophy  human_nature  self-interest  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
George Herbert Mead: The Social Self (1913) | George Herbert Mead Project
Originally published as: George Herbert Mead. "The Social Self", Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 10, (1913): 374- 380.

Assuming as I do the essentially social character of the ethical end, we find in moral reflection a conflict in which certain values find a spokesman in the old self or a dominant part of the old self, while other values answering to other tendencies and impulses arise in opposition and find other spokesmen to present their cases. To leave the field to the values represented by the old self is exactly what we term selfishness. The justification for the term is found in the habitual character of conduct with reference to these values. Attention is not claimed by the object and shifts to the subjective field where the affective responses are identified with the old self. The result is that we state the other conflicting ends in subjective terms of other selves and the moral problem seems to take on the form of the sacrifice either of the self or of the others.

Where, however, the problem is objectively considered, although the conflict is a social one, it should not resolve itself into a struggle between selves, but into such a reconstruction of the situation that different and enlarged and more adequate personalities may emerge. A tension should be centered on the objective social field.
online_texts  intellectual_history  20thC  Mead  pragmatism  philosophy  social_theory  moral_philosophy  psychology  epistemology  sociology  self  mind  human_nature  self-interest  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Sam Fleischacker, Economics and the Ordinary Person: Re-reading Adam Smith (2004) | Library of Economics and Liberty
Far more important to Smith's work is the belief that ordinary people normally understand their own interests without help from politicians or professional philosophers. The distinctive mark of Smith's thought is his view of human cognition, not of human motivation: he is far more willing than practically any of his contemporaries to endorse the ability of ordinary people to know what they need to know in life. ......Smith's distrust of the ability of "systems"—whether philosophical, religious, or political—to improve human beings goes with a belief that what really provides us with moral education are the humble institutions of everyday social interaction, including the market. The foundation of all virtue for Smith is "self-command,"......The point of these famous lines is not that my butcher and baker are self-interested but that I know how to "address" that self-interest, that I know how to "shew them that it is for their own advantage" to do something that will help me. But my ability to address their interests takes me beyond myself, whatever it does to them; I must go beyond my own self-love in order to enlist theirs in my aid. And it is that ability to restrain our own self-love, and understand and further the interests of others, Smith says, that distinguishes human beings from other animals. -- downloaded pdf
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september 2013 by dunnettreader
John F. Tomer: Brain Physiology, Egoistic and Empathic Motivation, and Brain Plasticity: Toward a More Human Economics | World Economic Review: working papers 2012
Back to the Enlightenment and Adam Smith. -- comments section has interesting cites to other cognitive neuroscience models and connections to social theories that involve individual decision making. -- downloaded pdf to Note -- Brain plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change structurally and functionally as a result of input from the environment. Some of this plasticity is no doubt genetically determined but some brain change is a product of individual effort and represents the individual’s investment in intangible capital (standard human capital, social capital, personal capital, and so on). In this revised view, the balance that individuals, groups, and societies strike between ego and empathy orientation is to a great extent determined by these intangible investments, not simply by brain physiology. In other words, it is the plastic aspect of the brain that determines how the capacity associated with brain physiology gets expressed.
paper  economic_models  economic_sociology  social_theory  cognition  neuroscience  self-interest  rationality-economics  empathy  social_capital  human_capital  education  work  rational_choice  feminist_economics  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Review by: Julian H. Franklin Philosophy and the State in France by Nannerl O. Keohane (1982)
JSTOR: Ethics, Vol. 93, No. 1 (Oct., 1982), pp. 173-176 -- downloaded pdf to Note -- see his discussion of importance of moral philosophy and public-private re political for the French from the wars of religion (Montaigne) onwards
reviews  books  intellectual_history  political_history  political_philosophy  France  16thC  17thC  18thC  French_Enlightenment  Absolutism  scepticism  Stoicism  emotions  self-interest  self-love  corruption  Montaigne  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Corey Robin: Reflections on Fear: Montesquieu in Retrieval (2000)
JSTOR: The American Political Science Review, Vol. 94, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 347-360 -- downloaded pdf to Note -- According to most scholars, Montesquieu argues that fear threatens a loss of self. Disconnected from the exercise of reason, fear is an emotion that is supposed to prevent the individual from acting with any kind of moral or rational agency. Fear is also premised on the liquidation of civil society; intermediate institutions and plural social structures are destroyed so that despots can act with unmitigated power and violence. I argue that this view does not capture Montesquieu's theory. In my alternative account, fear is intimately connected to our capacity for reason and to our sense of self. It is built on a network of elites, the rule of law, moral education, and the traditional institutions of civil society. I conclude that twentieth-century social science remains too indebted to conventional interpretations of Montesquieu's views, and contemporary theorists would be better served by the alternative analysis proposed here.
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august 2013 by dunnettreader

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