Philosophy

Postgraduates work in progress

Speaker: Owen Kelly

Title: Acting justly in acquiring wealth, in an age of consumption, globalisation and material superabundance: an Aristotelian proposal

Abstract: In the open, market-based economies of today, wealth is acquired and distributed in many ways but it is a daily activity for most people, through working for a wage, trading or otherwise exchanging one thing for another. What is the relationship between justice and this everyday, almost universal, activity? In considering any question, Aristotle turned first to the endoxa,  the views and opinions of respected predecessors. The endoxa of our times, I argue, in relation to justice and wealth, derive from two broad traditions: the social democratic and the market liberal. Both accept the concept of homo economicus, in the sense that rational actors in markets aim to maximise their utility; and both are pluralist in their approach to politics. The former approaches questions of justice in relation to the acquisition of wealth in terms of institutions (exemplified in the work of John Rawls); the latter in terms of free markets (exemplified in the work of Friedrich von Hayek). I argue that neither is all that much practical use for the economic actor, in our age of consumption, superabundance and globalisation, who wishes to act justly in how they acquire wealth. I will explain why it is necessary to think about justice at all, in this context and to concern ourselves with acting justly; and how an Aristotelian approach gives us at least a chance of doing so.

Contact

If you would like to present work at the seminar, or for more information on dates and venues, please contact Olivia Coombes, John Dorsch or visit the Work in Progress Seminar homepage.

Work in Progress Seminar homepage

Mar 06 2020 -

Postgraduates work in progress

2020-03-06: Acting justly in acquiring wealth, in an age of consumption, globalisation and material superabundance: an Aristotelian proposal

Sofi's Southside (upstairs), 42-44 Buccleuch Street, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9LP