Beliefs in Action : Economic Philosophy and Social Change

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Beliefs in Action : Economic Philosophy and Social Change

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  • 製本 Hardcover:ハードカバー版
  • 言語 ENG,ENG
  • 商品コード 9780521393065
  • DDC分類 330.01

Full Description


This book is concerned with the role of economic philosophy ('ideas') in the processes of belief-formation and social change. Its aim is to further our understanding of the behaviour of the individual economic agent by bringing to light and examining the function of non-rational dispositions and motivations ('passions') in the determination of the agent's beliefs and goals. Drawing on the work of David Hume and Adam Smith the book spells out the particular ways in which the passions come to affect our ordinary understanding and conduct in practical affairs and the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of ideas through language. Concern with these problems, it is argued, lies at the heart of an important tradition in British moral philosophy. This emphasis on the non-rational nature of our belief-fixation mechanisms has important implications: it helps to clarify and qualify the misleading claims often made by utilitarian, Marxist, Keynesian and neo-liberal economic philosophers, all of whom stress the overriding power of ideas to shape conduct, policy and institutions.

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Part I. The War of Ideas: 1. From Hume to
Hayek: economic policy and the role of ideas in
social action
2. The scientific challenge to economic
philosophy, I: physicalism and the birth of the
'man-machine' doctrine: La Mettrie
3. The scientific challenge to economic
philosophy, II: economics and the rise of
'economic man': Jevons and edgeworth
4. Economic man and man-machine: some logical
parallels and contrasts between the two concepts
5. The logic of the economic situation: complex
societies and the choice of cunduct-enforcing
mechanisms
6. The passions of the imagination, I: Hume and
Adam Smith on the sub-rational determinants of
belief
7. The passions of the imagination, II: Hume
and Adam Smith on the psychology of the
economic agent
Conclusion to part I
Part II. Patterns of Misunderstanding: 8.
Understanding misunderstandings: the
intergenerational transmission of ideas and the
time-factor
9. Contracts and traps: Bacon's contract of
error and the notion of pure misunderstanding
10. On the misuse of language: ordinary
language, formalism and the false-security
pitfall
11. Errors and illusions: Francis Bacon on the
sub-rational determinants of belief
12. The protection of belief: pure
misunderstanding as the result of theoretical
akrasia
13. On misunderstanding Malthus: the reception
of the Essay on Population: critics and
supporters
14. Ideas into politics, I: The transmission of
abstract thought: three levels of exchange
15. Ideas into politics, II: sweeping claims,
the philosopher-king and pure misunderstanding
Conclusion to part II
Notes
Bibliography
Index.