PHIL/PLCY 364.002 – Ethics and Economics

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Instructor: Barry Maguire. This course meets MW 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. in CW 105.

We will explore three overlapping topics at the intersection of ethics and economics: property rights, rational choice, and the morality of market transactions. Are there natural property rights? How are rights and duties related? What is the relationship between property rights and other rights? What is the relationship between property rights and well-being? How should one make choices in a market context? Do markets inculcate virtues? Vices? What range of motivations are compatible with market transactions in contemporary capitalist society? What is the broader relationship between the ethics of individual actions in larger social structures, in particular oppressive structures? Are there any goods that should not or could not be distributed in a market? Sex? Votes? Organs? Friendship? The course text will be Elizabeth Anderson’s Value in Ethics and Economics. This will be supplemented with additional readings.