In this paper, which is concerned with philosophical methodology as it might affect social science and ethics, the endeavor is to explore the depth and implications of Buchanan’s interest in Spinoza. After establishing their connection, the paper explores the parallels between Spinoza’s “dualism” and Buchanan’s own dualism and how that can shed light on Buchanan’s distinction between constitutional and operational modalities. Given their analogous perspectives, the paper then considers the possibility of dimensional shifts in the dualism, such that what was once a constitutional perspective becomes operational and how that ability to shift might affect various research agendas in the social sciences and ethics. Finally, we raise the question of how separate are the two levels and can they be brought together. In a Spinozistic framework, they ultimately would collapse into a monism, but the conclusion here is that for Buchanan there must always be a gap between them. As a result, the effort to resolve the tension between the dimensions may signal future research agendas in ethics and political economy.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 31, 2014
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