The Ontology and Ethics of Money.

Suzuki, Hidenori (2004) The Ontology and Ethics of Money. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis aims to explore the ontology and the normative nature of money. Part 1 aims to provide a philosophical and methodological toolbox with which to consider the ontology of money and the boundary between market and non-market spheres. From a Critical Realist perspective, it blocks the slide into two problems of reductionism. The positivist perspective, on the one hand, reduces objects to their empirical existence and seeks to quantify them. The Post-structuralist perspective, on the other hand, reduces objects to our discourses and ignores their extra-discursive nature. The Critical Realist can avoid reducing commensurability into either a mere empirical existence or a mere social construction. Whether things are marketable or not is partly a matter of extra-discursive facts and partly of discursive institutional facts. A market boundary, a separation between the marketable and the non-marketable goods, exists not only for us, but also in virtue of the nature both of money and of non-monetary goods. The ontology of money matters to the morality of money. Part 2 aims to provide an ethical approach from which to consider normative debates about money. From the perspective of an Aristotelian virtue ethics, it criticises the moral instrumentalist view of money - i. e. the view that money is simply a tool and hence that it is pointless to argue about morality of money as such --- and the Smithian virtue-based justification of money, which holds that whilst the society may subsist without a positive virtue of beneficence, it cannot subsist without a negative virtue of justice promoted by money. From an Aristotelian virtue ethics perspective, it defends the importance and possibility of altruistic gift giving from both practical indifference and theoretical skepticism. Finally, it explores the possibility of a 'virtue-based utopianism' in contrast with an 'evotopianism' based on a consequentialist ethical perspective.

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Thesis (PhD)
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02 May 2019 16:29
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:35