The development of price formation theory and subjectivism about ultimate values

Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (3):263–278 (2003)
  Copy   BIBTEX


abstract One sometimes finds leading economic thinkers expounding the metaphysical thesis that the ultimate ethical value of an object reflects nothing about the properties of the object in itself and instead reflects the subjective tastes of the valuer. Could anything in economics qua economics provide a warrant for such ethical subjectivism? And what might tempt economists to speak on such broadly meta‐ethical issues? In this paper we argue that a partial explanation for the subjectivist cast‐of‐mind of much economic theory is to be found in the recent history of price formation theory. (We focus in particular on the so‐called ‘Marginalist’ and ‘Ordinalist’ Revolutions in price theory.) We argue that although such price formation theory provides no warrant for drawing ethical subjectivist conclusions, it does provide an explanation as to why such conclusions might be drawn. Thus we explore how the particular history of the development of what is called ‘value theory’ might well lead one (albeit unwarrantedly) towards ethical subjectivism.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Heikki Helanterä & Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604).
The location problem for color subjectivism.Peter W. Ross - 2001 - Consciousness and Cognition 10 (1):42-58.
Creating public values: Schools as moral habitats.Jānis OzoliF - 2010 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (4):410-423.
Accounting for political preferences: Cultural theory vs. cultural history.Jeffrey Friedman - 1991 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 5 (3):325-351.
The place of ultimate values in sociological theory.Talcott Parsons - 1935 - International Journal of Ethics 45 (3):282-316.
Ethical formation.Sabina Lovibond - 2002 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.


Added to PP

20 (#689,043)

6 months
1 (#1,241,711)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Idealist Origins: 1920s and Before.Martin Davies & Stein Helgeby - 2014 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 15-54.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references