It is argued that the normative and ethical presuppositions of standard economics render the discipline incapable of addressing an important class of problems involving human choices. Economics adopts too thin an account both of human motivation and of "the good" for individuals and for society. It is recommended that economists and policy-makers look back to ancient philosophy for guidance on the good life and good society considered in terms of eudaimonism, or human flourishing.

Economics, Ethics, and Ancient Thought begins by outlining the limitations of the normative and ethical presuppositions that underpin standard economic theory, before going on to suggest alternative normative and ethical traditions that can supplement or replace those associated with standard economic thinking. In particular, this book considers the ethical thought of ancient thinkers, particularly the ancient Greeks and their concept of eudaimonia, arguing that within those traditions better alternatives can be found to the rational choice utilitarianism characteristic of modern economic theory and policy.

This volume is of great interest to those who study economic theory and philosophy, history of economic thought and philosophy of social science, as well as public policy professionals.

part I|91 pages

Ethics and economics

chapter 1|11 pages


chapter 2|21 pages

Eudaimonia: the ancients and the good life

chapter 3|33 pages

The impact of the ancients

part II|91 pages

Ethics and public policy

chapter 5|30 pages

The problem of pathological consumption

chapter 6|19 pages

Economics, ethics, and the environment

chapter 7|18 pages

Reason, ethics, and the end of life

chapter 8|18 pages

Towards a virtuous public finance