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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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(p.195) Conclusion
Kantian Ethics and Economics
Stanford University Press

A person who is capable of establishing his/her own standard and, through the process of self-constitution, his/her own identity, can realize his/her true potential. This capacity for autonomy also allows one to have dignity. Economists do not seem to value autonomy and dignity when modeling human decision-making owing to their mechanistic conception of the individual, in which his/her choices are entirely dependent on preferences, expectations, and endowments of time and material resources. Hence, true agency or choice has no place in economic models of decision-making. It is time for economists to view the person the way Immanuel Kant did: one who is able to determine his/her own ends and interests in consideration of both preferences and principles.

Keywords:   autonomy, dignity, decision-making, individual, preferences, choice, Immanuel Kant, expectations, economic models

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