Freedom and Happiness in Economic Thought and Philosophy: From Clash to Reconciliation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Freedom and Happiness in Economic Thought and Philosophy

From Clash to Reconciliation, 1st Edition

Edited by Ragip Ege, Herrade Igersheim


302 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Starting from a distinction made by the American philosopher, John Rawls, in 2000 between two kinds of liberalism, "liberalism of freedom" and "liberalism of happiness", this book presents a range of articles by economists and philosophers debating the most fundamental aspects of the subject. These include the exact significance of Rawls’ distinction and how it can be related to European political philosophy on the one hand and to utilitarianism on the other hand; the various definitions of happiness and freedom and their implications and the informational basis of individual preferences.

The objectives of the book are twofold: first, it is devoted to a thorough analysis of the founding texts of both liberalisms. It aims to determine the logic of selection of the concepts which these traditions consider as relevant. The Kantian pair "Reasonable"/"Rational" can be seen as the basis on which these concepts are defined, our final concern being to reveal the profound relations of complementarity between them: we call it reconciliation. Secondly, we consider a fundamental issue of welfare economics – how to appraise individual preferences – in light of the Rawlsian distinction. It is emphasized that neither a criterion based on liberalism of freedom by itself, nor an evaluation in terms of liberalism of happiness by itself exhausts the question of utility. One must combine both aspects in order to cope with that issue. To do so, it is claimed that one can resort to the concept of metaranking of preferences.

All the contributions included in this book are the outcomes of a collective research project of three years. The contributors come from a variety of backgrounds and yet are unified in developing a specific position about freedom and happiness. This book should be of interest to those focusing on the history of economic thought as well as moral, political and economic philosophy.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Overview Ragip Ege and Herrade Igersheim Part 1: Freedom and Happiness in the Light of the Rawlsian Opposition 1. Rawls: The Construction of a Democratic Thought Rima Hawi 2. Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and 'Liberalism of Freedom’ Daniel Diatkine 3. Smith and Condorcet on Instruction and the Rawlsian Opposition Jean-Daniel Boyer and Charlotte Le Chapelain 4. John Stuart Mill versus Jeremy Bentham: Between the Liberalism of Freedom and the Liberalism of Happiness Nathalie Sigot 5. Is Jevons a Liberal of Happiness? Pelin Sekerler Richiardi Part 2: Freedom and Happiness in Other Traditions of Liberalism: Towards a Reconciliation 6. German Historical School and the Question of Liberalism Karl-Heinz Schmidt 7. On the Liberalism of Walras Shirine Saberan 8. Balancing Freedom and Order: The Liberalism of Adolph Lowe Harald Hagemann 9. Some notes about Croce and Einaudi on liberismo and liberalismo Riccardo Soliani 10. Liberty and Independence: Rousseau’s Real Freedom Examined Jimena Hurtado 11. G.W.F. Hegel: Towards a Reconciliation Ragip Ege and Benoit Walraevens Part 3: Freedom, Happiness and Preferences: Applied Analysis 12. Interpersonal Comparisons With or Without Formal Welfarism Claude D’Aspremont 13. The Possibility of a Welfare Policy in a World of Emotion-Driven Individuals: A Humean Point of View André Lapidus 14. On Rights and Social Choice Maurice Salles 15. Do We Gain from Exchange At All? On Some Lessons to be Drawn from Rousseau Caroline Guibet Lafaye and Emmanuel Picavet 16. Can Metaranking Express the Misfortune of Consumption? A Discussion from the Reading of Things of G. Perec Claire Pignol 17. Reconstructing Preferences in a Voting Context: Some Clues from Experimental Data on Voting Rules Antoinette Baujard and Herrade Igersheim. Conclusion: "Metaranking as Reconciliation" Ragip Ege and Herrade Igersheim

About the Editors

Ragip Ege is Professor in Economics and member of the Bureau d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée (BETA) at the University of Strasbourg, France.

Herrade Igersheim is Research Fellow in Economics at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and member of the Bureau d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée (BETA) at the University of Strasbourg, France.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy

In recent years, there has been widespread criticism of mainstream economics. This has taken many forms, from methodological critiques of its excessive formalism, to concern about its failure to connect with many of the most pressing social issues. This series provides a forum for research which is developing alternative forms of economic analysis. Reclaiming the traditional 'political economy' title, it refrains from emphasising any single school of thought, but instead attempts to foster greater diversity within economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory
PHILOSOPHY / Free Will & Determinism