1st Edition

Philosophical Foundations of Economic Reality Anthropological, Ethical and Metaphysical

By Javier Aranzadi Copyright 2025
    288 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The dominant paradigm of the economy is based on homo economicus and its positivist, mechanistic, and utilitarian approach. This leads to a form of ‘technical liberalism’, advocating a market without society in which individuals are reduced to property rights and data subject to commercial transaction.

    This book argues for a reconceptualization of the philosophical foundations of economic reality in the 21st century. Drawing on the continental tradition, the book shows adopting and combining anthropological, ethical and metaphysical approaches can provide the basis for a better integration of markets so that they work with, rather than against, individual and social needs. To correctly interpret the market as an institution and the firm as a social organization, the book explores concepts from the philosophy of action to show that it is people who literally create economic reality by providing for their needs through their creativity. The book also explores the ethics that structure human behaviour providing a comparison between utilitarian ethics, hedonistic ethics and first-person ethics or virtues. This discussion provides a philosophical foundation for human action grounded in metaphysics. The metaphysical approach helps to overcome the modernist reductionism of the human to a life of individual purpose and instead look towards a larger goal: the common good.

    This book marks a significant addition to the literature on philosophy of economics, ethics and markets, institutions and economic theory more broadly.


    1. Introduction.                                                                                       


    PART I:   The anthropological structure of the economy

    2. Socio-cultural sphere of the economy.                                      

    3. The market as a social institution.


    PART II: The ethical structure of the economy 

    4.The ethical structure of human action

    5. The firm as a social organisation.


    PART III: The metaphysical structure of the economy

    6. The causal appropriation of reality 

    7. Human historicity: living on the horizon of eternity.   

    8. Looking ahead: final check of the philosophical map.




    Javier Aranzadi is Associate Professor of Economics at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. He holds both PhD in Economics and Philosophy. He has published numerous academic articles on economics, business ethics and philosophy. In Spanish, he has published several books. In English, he has published Liberalism against Liberalism (Routledge,1999) and Human Action, Economics and Ethics (Springer, 2018).