With this important book, esteemed economist Leland B. Yeager grounds moral and political philosophy in the requirements of a well-functioning society, one whose members reap the gains from peaceful cooperation while pursuing their own diverse goals.
This book explores the reasons an individual may have for helping to uphold such a society rather than seeking a free ride on the moral behavior of others. A work in the tradition of Hume, Smith, Mill, von Mises, Hayek and Hazlitt, it expounds a rules or indirect version of utilitarianism. It reviews criticisms of utilitarianism in detail, as well as alternative grounds of ethics including contractarianism, rights-based doctrines, and appeals to specific intuitions. Yeager brings the insights of economics to bear on a field usually dominated by philosophers and theologians. Ethics comes across as a subject amply open to the findings of economics and the other social and natural sciences.
Economists, philosophers and other students and scholars of the social sciences will welcome this book. It will also appeal to any reader interested in exploring the ideas of ethics.
The late Leland B. Yeager, formerly Ludwig von Mises Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, Auburn University and Paul Goodloe McIntire Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Virginia, US
Contents: Preface 1. Ethics and Economics 2. Some Fundamentals 3. Origins of Ethics 4. The Case for Indirect Utilitarianism 5. What Counts as Utility? 6. The Alleged Problem of Aggregation 7. Is Utilitarianism Immoral? 8. Altruism and Self-Interest 9. Duty and Universalizability 10. Rivals of Utilitarianism 11. Law, Government, and Policy 12. Utilitarianism after All References Index