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Kantian ethics and economics in The Montréal Review

Mark D. White

A synopsis of my book Kantian Ethics and Economics: Autonomy, Dignity, and Character titled "Returning Dignity to Economics" appears in the new online issue of The Montréal Review, alongside articles by Patricia Churchland, Gilles Saint-Paul, and Eric MacGilvray. Let me share the final paragraph, which I think is relevant to much more than merely the topics in my book (and on which I plan to work more soon):

With its roots in classical utilitarianism, mainstream economics treats individuals merely as contributors to social welfare, with little consideration for persons qua individuals. Advances in psychology and neuroscience reinforce this, painting a picture of human beings as flawed machines that need correcting from those who "know better." These are all symptoms of a declining appreciation of autonomy and dignity which serves to diminish the moral status of the individual as well as ignore the benefits that a strong sense of the individual can bring to society as a whole. Integrating Kant's moral insights into economics can help preserve these ideals and ensure that when the good of society is promoted, it is not at the expense of the individuals that comprise it.


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