The Theory of the Individual in Economics
Identity and Value
By John B Davis
Routledge – 2004 – 224 pages
The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. All strands of thought at heart come down to a particular theory of the individual. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorise it. This superb book remedies this oversight.
The new approach put forward by Davis is to pay more attention to what moral philosophy may offer us in the study of personal identity, self consciousness and will. This crosses the traditional boundaries of economics and will shed new light on the distinction between positive and normative analysis in economics. With both heterodox and orthodox economics receiving a thorough analysis from Davis, this book is at once inclusive and revealing.
‘John Davis has written a fascinating book … [his] critique is clear, elegant, and compelling … [he] earns high points for clarity, persuasiveness, scholarship, and style. Moreover, the reader who is uncommitted but open minded about mainstream and heterodox economics will find this a powerful and convincing book. It is an excellent choice for graduate students.’ – William Waller, Journal of Economic Issues
'Overall, this is a superb book. It is highly recommended as a meticulous and scholarly review of the literature.' - Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Economica
Acknowledgements, 1. Framing the Issues Part 1 - Orthodox Economics 2. The Atomistic Individual 3. Re-identification: Preferences and Human Capital 4. Individuation: Multiple Selves 5. After the fall: The machinery of choice Part II - Heterodox Economics 6. The Embedded Individual 7. Individuation: Collective intentionality 8. Re-identification: Capabilities 9. Before the fall: Value in economics 10. Revising the issues, References, Index