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Kantian Ethics and EconomicsAutonomy, Dignity, and Character$
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Mark White

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804768948

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804768948.001.0001

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A Kantian-Economic Model of Choice

A Kantian-Economic Model of Choice

(p.50) Chapter 2 A Kantian-Economic Model of Choice
Kantian Ethics and Economics
Stanford University Press

This chapter incorporates Immanuel Kant's less formalistic ethical thinking about strength, virtue, and character into an economic model of choice. It describes morally imperfect agents who must exert willpower not only to stay on the moral path but also to show true respect for the moral law. It also examines the nature of the agent's character, combining his/her judgment and will. The chapter first looks at will and explains why this concept is relevant when it comes to understanding human agency and rationality (based on the philosophical approach known as volitionism) before focusing on how economists have dealt with (or, more often, avoided) the issue of the will. It then analyzes Kant's views on fortitude or strength (which he called virtue) and how the Kantian-economic model can incorporate a will. Finally, it discusses procrastination as an example of weakness of will and highlights its relationship to Kant's conceptions of choice and strength.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, economic model, choice, strength, virtue, character, will, moral law, morally imperfect agents, procrastination

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