Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Logic of Right and Wrong Action Must Be Grounded in the Logic of Action as Such

When framing any ethical problem, one has to start from taking the economic point of view. Then and only then will one be able to separate the possible from the desirable, ethical opportunities from ethical fantasies. This is not economic triumphalism, but ethical prudence, not crude neoclassical utilitarianism, which tries to replace ethics with economics, but a commonsense perspective that lets them learn from each other.

The reason why such a suggestion may sound "ethically insensitive" or otherwise exotic is the reason why over the last few thousand years theoretical ethics has been, with small exceptions, such a largely fruitless endeavor. If it is to become fruitful, it has to be planted in the soil of sound economics - if the logic of right and wrong action is to be truly logical, it has to be grounded in the logic of action as such.

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