Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/31804
Authors: 
Ross, Don
Year of Publication: 
2006
Series/Report no.: 
Papers on economics and evolution 0616
Abstract: 
The evolutionary explanation of human dispositions to prosocial behaviour and to moralization of such behaviour undermines the moral realist's belief in objective moral facts that hold independently of people's contingent desires. At the same time, advocacy of preferences for significant departures from hallowed policies (that is, for 'loud policies') is generally sure to be ineffective unless it is moralized. It may seem that this requires the economist who would advocate loud policies, but is also committed to a naturalistic account of human social and cognitive behaviour, to engage in wilful manipulation, morally hectoring people even when she knows that her doing so ought rationally to carry no persuasive force. Furthermore, it might be wondered on what basis just for herself an error theorist about morality advocates loud policies. I argue that understanding the role of moralized preferences in the maintenance of the self, and in turn understanding the economic rationale of such self-maintenance, allows us to see how and why preferences can be moralized by a believer in error theory without this implying hypocrisy or manipulation of others.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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