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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 Virtues of a Kantian Economics

The Virtues of a Kantian Economics

Chapter:
(p.94) Chapter 5 The Virtues of a Kantian Economics
Source:
Economics and the Virtues
Author(s):

Mark D. White

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701392.003.0006

This chapter argues that an economic model of choice that incorporates Kantian duty and judgment can provide the emphasis on character that makes virtue ethics attractive, as well as a sound foundation in principle. The first half of the chapter highlights the aspects of virtue ethics that Kant shares, specifically a concern for motivation, an emphasis on agents, and a disdain for rules. The second part presents a Kantian-economic model of decision-making augmented by a conception of judgment adopted from the jurisprudence of Ronald Dworkin, which shares an emphasis on character and integrity with both Kant and virtue ethics. Finally, it suggests several examples of economic problems drawn from individual choice, firm behavior, and policy-making, which illustrate the widespread importance of judgment to economic decision-making and the appeal of a model that emphasizes the moral character of the individual or institution when balancing principles.

Keywords:   economics, virtue ethics, Immanuel Kant, Ronald Dworkin, judgment, jurisprudence, duty, principle, character

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