The adversarial legal system is traditionally praised for its normative appeal: it protects individual rights; ensures an equal, impartial, and consistent application of the law; and, most importantly, its competitive structure facilitates the discovery of truth – both in terms of the facts, and in terms of the correct interpretation of the law. At the same time, legal representation is allocated as a commodity, bought and sold in the market: the more one pays, the better legal representation one gets. In (...) this article, I argue that the integration of a market in legal representation with the adversarial system undercuts the very normative justifications on which the system is based. Furthermore, I argue that there are two implicit conditions, which are currently unmet, but are required for the standard justifications to hold: that there is (equal opportunity for) equality of legal representation between parties, and that each party has (equal opportunity for) a sufficient level of legal representation. I, therefore, outline an ideal proposal for reform that would satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
Abstract : This introduction to a special issue on "Normes and normativity" emphasizes the difficulties and challenges of distinguishing between a positive approach and a normative approach to norms in economics. Collective life is organized by norms, however the mere fact that they regularly influence behaviours does not imply their desirability. A strict description of norms may require consideration of ethical issues, which may be reported by different methods; choosing among norms however is an activity of a fundamentally normative nature, (...) which questions the legitimacy of decisions and evaluations. The very possibility of a demarcation between is and ought is not straightforward. In welfare economics in particular, the standard approaches that aim to avoid value judgements (welfarism) or to isolate them (axiomatics) can be problematic. To conclude, we present the four articles in the special issue meant to illustrate these issues regarding the nature, knowledge, value of norms and the positive-normative distinction. -/- Résumé : Cette introduction à un dossier thématique sur le thème "Normes et normativité" insiste sur les difficultés et les enjeux de la distinction entre les approches positives et normatives des normes en économie. La vie collective est organisée par des normes, mais qu’elles ordonnent les comportements dans les faits n’impliquent pas qu’elles soient désirables. Une stricte description des normes peut nécessiter de prendre en compte les questions éthiques, lesquelles peuvent être traduites par différentes méthodes ; choisir les normes en revanche est une activité de nature fondamentalement normative, qui interroge la légitimité des décisions et des évaluations. La possibilité même de démarcation entre positif et normatif ne va pas de soi : en particulier en économie du bien-être, les approches standards qui visent à éviter les jugements de valeur (le welfarisme) ou à les isoler (l’axiomatique) peuvent s’avérer problématiques. Pour conclure, nous présentons les quatre articles du numéro qui illustrent ces questionnements relatifs à la nature, la connaissance, la valeur des normes et la distinction entre normatif et positif. (shrink)
The books’ goal is to answer the question: Do the weaknesses of value-free economics imply the need for a paradigm shift? The author synthesizes criticisms from different perspectives (descriptive and methodological). Special attention is paid to choices over time, because in this area value-free economics has the most problems. In that context, the enriched concept of multiple self is proposed and investigated. However, it is not enough to present the criticisms towards value-free economics. For scientists, a bad paradigm is better (...) than no paradigm. Therefore, the author considers whether value-based economics with normative approaches such as economics of happiness, capability approach, libertarian paternalism, and the concept of multiple self can be the alternative paradigm for value-free economics. This book is essential reading to everyone interested in the current state of economics as a discipline. (shrink)
Despite the conclusions from the contemporary philosophy of science, many economists cherish the ideal of positive science. Therefore, value-free economics is still the central paradigm in economics. The first aim of the paper is to investigate economics' axiomatic assumptions from an epistemological perspective. The critical analysis of the literature shows that the positive-normative dichotomy is exaggerated. Moreover, value-free economics is based on normative foundations that have a negative impact on individuals and society. The paper's second aim is to show that (...) economics' normativity is not a problem because the discussion concerning values is possible and unavoidable. In this context, Weber and other methodologists are investigated. The conclusion of the paper is that science can thrive without strict methodological rules thanks to institutional mechanisms. Therefore, economists could learn from artists who accept the world without absolute rules. This perspective opens the possibility for methodological pluralism and normative approaches. (shrink)
Can taxation and the redistribution of wealth through the welfare state be conceived as a modern system of circulation of the gift? But once such a gift is institutionalized, regulated and sanctioned through legal mechanisms, does it not risk being perverted or corrupted, and/or not leaving room for genuinely altruistic motives? What is more: if the market’s utilitarian logic can corrupt or ‘crowd out’ altruistic feelings or motivations, what makes us think that the welfare state cannot also be a source (...) of corruption? To explain the standard answers to the abovementioned questions as well as their implications I will first re-examine two opposing positions assumed here as paradigmatic examples of other similar positions: on the one hand, Titmuss’s work and the never-ending debate about it; on the other, Godbout’s position, in-so-far as it shows how Titmuss’s arguments can easily be turned upside down. I will then introduce and reinterpret Einaudi’s “critical point” theory as a more complex and richer anthropological explanation of the problems and answers considered herein. Through the analysis of these paradigmatic positions I will develop two interrelated arguments. 1) The way these problems are posed as well as the standard answers to them are: a) subject to fallacies: the dichotomy fallacy and the fallacy of composition; b) too reductive and simplistic: we should at least try to clarify what kind of ‘gift’ or ‘corruption’ we are thinking about, and who or what the ‘giver’, the ‘corrupter’, the ‘receiver’ and/or the ‘corrupted’ party are. 2) The answers to these problems cannot be found by merely following a theoretical approach, nor can they be merely based on empirical evidence; instead, they need to take into account the forever troublesome, ambiguous and unpredictable matter of human freedom. (shrink)
In recent years, several authors advocated neuroscience imperialism, an instance of scientific imperialism whereby neuroscience methods and findings are systematically applied to model and explain phenomena investigated by other disciplines. Calls for neuroscience imperialism target a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, economics, and philosophy. To date, however, neuroscience imperialism has not received detailed attention by philosophers, and the debate concerning its identification and normative assessment is relatively underdeveloped. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation by making some (...) conceptual distinctions about neuroscience imperialism and by providing a normative assessment of prominent calls in its favour. I shall articulate and defend two interrelated claims that, I argue, undermine prominent calls for neuroscience imperialism. First, the proponents of neuroscience imperialism significantly overstate the evidential and explanatory relevance of neuroscience methods and findings for the disciplines they target. And second, prominent calls for neuroscience imperialism point to an untenable reductionist position, which rests on unsupported empirical and normative presuppositions. To substantiate these two claims, I shall draw on two sets of influential calls for neuroscience imperialism, which respectively target the economic modelling of choice and entrenched philosophical conceptions of free agency. (shrink)
That the maximization of quality-adjusted life years violates concerns for fairness is well known. One approach to face this issue is to elicit fairness preferences of the public empirically and to incorporate the corresponding equity weights into cost-utility analysis (CUA). It is thereby sought to encounter the objections by means of an axiological modification while leaving the value-maximizing framework of CUA intact. Based on the work of Lübbe (2005, 2009a, 2009b, 2010, forthcoming), this paper questions this strategy and scrutinizes the (...) concomitant assumptions concerning the nature of prioritization decisions. Empirical studies indicate that these premises are in fact unwarranted. People chose a certain resource allocation because they perceive it as a fair way to treat the persons concerned, not because it maximizes something valuable, and it is questionable if prioritization decision can be represented as value-maximizing choices at all. This reflection on the fundamental distinction between deontological and consequentialist reasoning bears general implications for the scope of ‘economic imperialism.’. (shrink)
This article identifies and analyses issues related to defining and evaluating the so-called scientific imperialism. It discusses John Dupré's account, suggesting that it is overly conservative and does not offer a definition of scientific imperialism in not presenting it as a phenomenon of interdisciplinarity. It then discusses the recent account by Steve Clarke and Adrian Walsh, taking issue with ideas such as illegitimate occupation, counterfactual progress, and culturally significant values. A more comprehensive and refined framework of my own is then (...) summarized. It suggests types and aspects of scientific imperialism as a dynamic interdisciplinary relationship, distinguishing between imperialism of scope, style and standing, for example. It also suggests normative constraints on scientific imperialism. This enables us to distinguish, in principle, recommendable from non-recommendable kinds of it, while recognizing the difficulties involved in trying to do this in practice. (shrink)
This paper challenges Mäki's argument about commonsensibles by offering a case study from contemporary microeconomics – contemporary revealed preference theory (hereafter CRPT) – where terms like "preference," "utility," and to some extent "choice," are radical departures from the common sense meanings of these terms. Although the argument challenges the claim that economics is inhabited solely by commonsensibles, it is not inconsistent with such folk notions being common in economic theory.
This bookis about the roots of managerial rationality. A theoretical base, founded on the concept of 'memetics' is developed in order to explain human thinking and human reason as products of cultural evolution. Cultural change and development are explained by simple, value-driven memetic mechanisms like 'ritualization' and 'extremization'.
Is economics a proper science at all? Or if it qualifies as a science, does it underperform, does it fail to fulfil its scientific duties? Does it perhaps just pretend to proceed as a science by applying principles and techniques that are not suitable for addressing its proper subject matter and for meeting the legitimate expectations? There is a long and live tradition of economics-bashing and economics apology in posing and answering such questions. One popular current in this tradition is (...) to blame economics for being theory-driven or method-driven or driven by whatever else but the world or empirical evidence or observation. Economics thus does not care about the real world – indeed, being so deeply shaped by its favourite theories and methods disconnects economics from the world. The alternative to this gloomy scenario is for a discipline to be evidence-driven or world-oriented or to be guided by some such proper scientific ethos. Being theory-driven involves stressing scientific virtues such as simplicity, coherence, convenience, tractability, formal rigor, theoretical elegance, and so on. Being observation-driven or world-oriented means emphasizing the importance of truth, complexity, empirical testing, practical relevance, and so on. Sometimes the former is characterized as a deductive approach, in contrast to the latter inductive approach. Diagnosis of the failures of economics and advice for how to do better economics is often put in such dichotomous terms. This popular way of framing the issues and debates is all too simplistic and outright distortive.... (shrink)
Geographical economics (also known as the ‘new economic geography’) is an approach developed within economics dealing with space and geography, issues previously neglected by the mainstream of the discipline. Some practitioners in neighbouring fields traditionally concerned with spatial issues (descriptively) characterized it as—and (normatively) blamed it for—intellectual imperialism. We provide a nuanced analysis of the alleged imperialism of geographical economics and investigate whether the form of imperialism it allegedly instantiates is to be resisted and on what grounds. From both descriptive (...) and normative perspectives, our conclusion is: yes and no. (shrink)
Political science and economic science . . . make use of the same language, the same mode of abstraction, the same instruments of thought and the same method of reasoning. (Black 1998, 354) Proponents as well as opponents of economics imperialism agree that imperialism is a matter of unification; providing a unified framework for social scientific analysis. Uskali Mäki distinguishes between derivational and ontological unification and argues that the latter should serve as a constraint for the former. We explore whether, (...) in the case of rational-choice political science, self-interested behavior can be seen as a common causal element and solution concepts as the common derivational element, and whether the former constraints the use of the latter. We find that this is not the case. Instead, what is common to economics and rational-choice political science is a set of research heuristics and a focus on institutions with similar structures and forms of organization. (shrink)
The paper seeks to offer  an explication of a concept of economics imperialism, focusing on its epistemic aspects; and  criteria for its normative assessment. In regard to , the defining notion is that of explanatory unification across disciplinary boundaries. As to , three kinds of constraints are proposed. An ontological constraint requires an increased degree of ontological unification in contrast to mere derivational unification. An axiological constraint derives from variation in the perceived relative significance of the facts explained. (...) An epistemological constraint requires strong fallibilism acknowledging a particularly severe epistemic uncertainty and proscribing against over-confident arrogance. (shrink)
A newly emerged field within economics, known as geographical economics claims to have provided a unified approach to the study of spatial agglomerations at different spatial scales by showing how these can be traced back to the same basic economic mechanisms. We analyze this contemporary episode of explanatory unification in relation to major philosophical accounts of unification. In particular, we examine the role of argument patterns in unifying derivations, the role of ontological convictions and mathematical structures in shaping unification, the (...) distinction between derivational and ontological unification, the issue of how explanation and unification relate and finally the idea that unification comes in degrees. (shrink)
Swedberg's two-volume collection of essays covering New Developments in Economic Sociology contains some excellent material, worthy of study by both economists and sociologists. However, there are definitional and conceptual problems in the whole project of "economic sociology" exacerbated by the disappearance of any consensus concerning the boundaries between the disciplines of sociology and economics. Neither has "economic sociology" acquired an adequately clear identity through the use of distinctive concepts or theories. Its future prospects are further questioned by recent changes within (...) economics itself, including greater attention to institutional structures, and the abandonment of strictly self-interested and context-independent rationality. Key Words: economic sociology economics disciplinary boundaries social sciences. (shrink)
We briefly describe ways in which neuroeconomics has made contributions to its contributing disciplines, especially neuroscience, and a specific way in which it could make future contributions to both. The contributions of a scientific research programme can be categorized in terms of (1) description and classification of phenomena, (2) the discovery of causal relationships among those phenomena, and (3) the development of tools to facilitate (1) and (2). We consider ways in which neuroeconomics has advanced neuroscience and economics along each (...) line. Then, focusing on electrophysiological methods, we consider a puzzle within neuroeconomics whose solution we believe could facilitate contributions to both neuroscience and economics, in line with category (2). This puzzle concerns how the brain assigns reward values to otherwise incomparable stimuli. According to the common currency hypothesis, dopamine release is a component of a neural mechanism that solves comparability problems. We review two versions of the common currency hypothesis, one proposed by Read Montague and colleagues, the other by William Newsome and colleagues, and fit these hypotheses into considerations of rational choice. (shrink)
The various behavioral disciplines model human behavior in distinct and incompatible ways. Yet, recent theoretical and empirical developments have created the conditions for rendering coherent the areas of overlap of the various behavioral disciplines. The analytical tools deployed in this task incorporate core principles from several behavioral disciplines. The proposed framework recognizes evolutionary theory, covering both genetic and cultural evolution, as the integrating principle of behavioral science. Moreover, if decision theory and game theory are broadened to encompass other-regarding preferences, they (...) become capable of modeling all aspects of decision making, including those normally considered “psychological,” “sociological,” or “anthropological.” The mind as a decision-making organ then becomes the organizing principle of psychology. (Published Online April 27 2007) Key Words: behavioral game theory; behavioral science; evolutionary theory; experimental psychology; gene-culture coevolution; rational actor model; socialization. (shrink)
A wide variety of sources, including the Huntington literature and popular mass media, show that Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” idea actually has very little value in understanding the current global political context. The central assumption of Huntington’s view, that cultural kinship ties influence loyalties and agreements on a global scale, has little to do with the daily lives of American citizens and little to do with the decisions made by the current presidential administration. The mass media evidence from the United (...) States shows that the most important “kinship” ties are not religious or cultural, but economic. The argument involves a deeper analysis of the current trend towards religious programs on American television, a timeline of events relating to the Halliburton – Cheney relationship, and views expressed by members of the United States military in Stars and Stripes. (shrink)
Faculty of Law and Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto 1. INTRODUCTION The economic analysis of law has gone through a remarkable change in the past decade and a half. The founding articles of the discipline – such classic pieces as Ronald Coase’s “The problem of social cost” (1960), Richard Posner’s “A theory of negligence” (1972) and Guido Calabresi and Douglas Malamed’s “Property rules, liability rules, and inalienability: One view of the cathedral” (1972) – offered economic analyses of familiar aspects (...) of the common law, seeking to explain, in particular, fundamental features of the law of tort in terms of such economic ideas as transaction costs (Coase), Kaldor-Hicks efﬁciency (Posner), or minimizing the sum of the accident costs and avoidance costs (Calabresi and Malamed). In each case, they argued that the law of torts should be understood as a set of liability rules selected for their incentive effects, rather than as a set of substantive rights and remedies for their violation. These authors claimed to be able to explain most of the features of tort law and, where features were found that did not ﬁt with their preferred explanations, recommended modiﬁcation. Although they disagreed on important questions,1 each of the pieces seems to work a manageable structure into what strikes ﬁrst-year law students as an otherwise random morass of common-law judgments. Generations of legal academics were introduced to these works, and drawn into their way of looking at things. As a student studying ﬁrst-year torts with Calabresi at Yale, I had the sense that I was in the presence of greatness. (shrink)
In a series of insightful publications, Philip Pettit and Frank Jackson have argued for an explanatory ecumenism that is designed to justify a variety of types of social scientific explanation of different , including structural and rational choice explanations. Their arguments are put in terms of different kinds of explanatory information; the distinction between causal efficacy, causal relevance and explanatory relevance within their program model of explanation; and virtual reality and resilience explanation. The arguments are here assessed from the point (...) of view of the illumination they are able to cast on the issue of economics imperialism, the project of privileging rational choice as a unifying basis for explanations. While the Jackson–Pettit arguments turn out to be helpful in specifying some of the ontological and pragmatic constraints on economics imperialism, they are also shown to conflate distinct dimensions in the purported explanantia (such as small grain and particular grain, and the macro and the existentially quantified) and thereby to miss an important class of individualist causal process explanations of social phenomena. (shrink)
Exhausting Modernity is a bold and exciting new work on the exhaustion of our resources, both natural and human. Brennan marshalls the insights of Marx and Freud to provide a compelling analysis of the pervading modern capitalism: environmental collapse, rising poverty levels, and the increased global economic disparity. Linking the consumption of environmental resources to our own depleted psychic life, she shows that modernity must be rethought if we are to find a sustainable future for both the environment and our (...) own psychic life. (shrink)
We consider two reasons why firms should be owned and run democratically by their workers. The first concernsaccountability: Because the employment relationship involves the exercise of power, its governance should on democratic grounds be accountable to those most directly affected. The second concernsefficiency: The democratic firm uses a lower level of inputs per unit of output than the analogous capitalist firm.