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Economics and the VirtuesBuilding a New Moral Foundation$
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Jennifer A. Baker and Mark D. White

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701392.001.0001

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The Separation of Economics from Virtue

The Separation of Economics from Virtue

A Historical–Conceptual Introduction

Chapter:
(p.141) Chapter 7 The Separation of Economics from Virtue
Source:
Economics and the Virtues
Author(s):

Eric Schliesser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701392.003.0008

The aim of this chapter is to explain what philosophical commitments drove mainstream professional economists to understand their own discipline as leaving no space for ethics (including virtue) between 1887 and 1971. In particular, it is argued that economics embraced a technocratic conception of politics and science. Philosophers, too, embraced and continue to embrace a number of commitments about philosophy and science that entrench a sharp division of labor between philosophers and economics and that keep not just ethics, but virtue, outside of economics. Many of these philosophers’ commitments were adopted by economists, such that they could assume, in practice, that there is a self-sufficient apolitical domain of pure economics.

Keywords:   ethics, economics, Henry Sidgwick, John Rawls, Lionel Robbins, George Stigler, Milton Friedman, John Neville Keynes, positive economics, normative economics

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