Value in Ethics and Economics

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1993 Hardcover Fair Notes and underlining. Open Books is a Non-profit literacy organization and proceeds from the sale benefit literacy programs.

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Elizabeth Anderson offers a new theory of value and rationality that rejects cost-benefit analysis in our social lives and in our ethical theories. This account of the plurality of values thus offers a new approach, beyond welfare economics and traditional theories of justice, for assessing the ethical limitations of the market. In this light, Anderson discusses several contemporary controversies involving the proper scope of the market, including commercial surrogate motherhood, privatization of public services, and the application of cost-benefit analysis to issues of environmental protection.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674931893
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Anderson is Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents

1 A Pluralist Theory of Value 1
1.1 A Rational Attitude Theory of Value 1
1.2 Ideals and Self-Assessment 5
1.3 How Goods Differ in Kind (I): Different Modes of Valuation 8
1.4 How Goods Differ in Kind (II): Social Relations of Realization 11
2 An Expressive Theory of Rational Action 17
2.1 Value and Rational Action 17
2.2 The Framing of Decisions 22
2.3 The Extrinsic Value of States of Affairs 26
2.4 Consequentialism 30
2.5 Practical Reason and the Unity of the Self 38
3 Pluralism and Incommensurable Goods 44
3.1 The Advantages of Consequentialism 44
3.2 A Pragmatic Theory of Comparative Value Judgments 47
3.3 Incommensurable Goods 55
3.4 Rational Choice among Incommensurable Goods 59
4 Self-Understanding, the Hierarchy of Values, and Moral Constraints 65
4.1 The Test of Self-Understanding 65
4.2 The Hierarchy of Values 66
4.3 Agent-Centered Restrictions 73
4.4 Hybrid Consequentialism 79
4.5 A Self-Effacing Theory of Practical Reason? 86
5 Criticism, Justification, and Common Sense 91
5.1 A Pragmatic Account of Objectivity 91
5.2 The Thick Conceptual Structure of the Space of Reasons 97
5.3 How Common Sense Can Be Self-Critical 104
5.4 Why We Should Ignore Skeptical Challenges to Common Sense 112
6 Monistic Theories of Value 117
6.1 Monism 117
6.2 Moore's Aesthetic Monism 119
6.3 Hedonism 123
6.4 Rational Desire Theory 129
7 The Ethical Limitations of the Market 141
7.1 Pluralism, Freedom, and Liberal Politics 141
7.2 The Ideals and Social Relations of the Modern Market 143
7.3 Civil Society and the Market 147
7.4 Personal Relations and the Market 150
7.5 Political Goods and the Market 153
7.6 The Limitations of Market Ideologies 163
8 Is Women's Labor a Commodity? 168
8.1 The Case of Commercial Surrogate Motherhood 168
8.2 Children as Commodities 170
8.3 Women's Labor as a Commodity 175
8.4 Contract Pregnancy and the Status of Women 182
8.5 Contract Pregnancy, Freedom, and the Law 185
9 Cost-Benefit Analysis, Safety, and Environment Quality 190
9.1 Cost-Benefit Analysis as a Form of Commodification 190
9.2 Autonomy, Labor Markets, and the Value of Life 195
9.3 Citizens, Consumers, and the Value of the Environment 203
9.4 Toward Democratic Alternatives to Cost-Benefit Analysis 210
Conclusion 217
Notes 223
References 231
Index 241
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