This book offers a distinctive moral defense of capitalism. Unlike most such defenses, this book avoids the summoning of concepts and ideas drawn from the modern philosophical tradition that arose out of the 17th–18th century Enlightenment. It rejects the idea of supporting capitalism on the grounds of self-ownership, human dignity, property rights, social utility, or a social contract. Confidence in the power of human reason to demonstrate any of these notions has waned since the Enlightenment, and justifiably so. Capitalism stands in desperate need of different philosophic foundations. This book’s thesis is that capitalism can be more sturdily defended on a pre-modern basis. Adopting the ancient Roman philosopher Cicero as a guide, this book acknowledges the limits of human reason. It applies the ancient skepticism that Cicero represents, a school of thought that teaches us to be content with probabilities and to focus upon the practical dimensions of human existence. Philosophical inquiry is best directed to the task of identifying the means of securing both life and the good life for human beings. As such, this book stresses the overriding importance of maintaining social co-operation and advancing human excellence. It argues that capitalism satisfies both these imperatives.
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About the Author
George Bragues is assistant vice-provost and program head of business at the University of Guelph-Humber.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Pro-Capitalists Need to Think Pre-Modern
Chapter 1: Why Modern Ideas Leave Capitalism Exposed
Chapter 2: The Social Cooperation Directive
Chapter 3: The Ciceronian Theory of Justice
Chapter 4: Capitalism Cannot Be Secular
Chapter 5: A Constitution that Opens the Way to Capitalism
Chapter 6: How a Redistributive State Jeopardizes Social Cooperation
Chapter 7: Pursuing Human Excellence under Capitalism
Conclusion: From Utter Skepticism to Probabilistic Contrarianism
About the Author