(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 269 pp. isbn 9780199781744 (hbk). $49.95. isbn 9780199360598 (pbk). $24.95. In The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior , David C. Rose takes what philosophers would call a genealogical approach to morality. Though he constructs a systematic and fairly detailed theory of morality, he does not defend the theory with intuition pumps or straightforward moral argument. His approach to morality begins instead with this question: what work might morality do in an economic system with low transaction costs? How, in other words, might morality – that is, a set of widely and commonly held moral beliefs – itself contribute to making economic institutions more efficient by driving down transaction costs? The approach is genealogical – in the sense explained by Bernard Williams in Truth and Truthfulness (Princeton University Press, 2002), it is a vindicating (or at least a non-debunking) genealogy – because it rests on two assumptions: that the nature and content of morality derives from how it developed, and that we can understand how morality developed by asking how, within a scientifically realistic account of human nature, economic agents might have come to hold and act from a particular set of moral beliefs
Journal of Moral Philosophy – Brill
Published: Sep 29, 2016
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