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Reckoning with MarketsThe Role of Moral Reflection in Economics$
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James Halteman and Edd S. Noell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199763702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763702.001.0001

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Moral Reflection in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Moral Reflection in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Chapter:
(p.15) Chapter 2 Moral Reflection in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Source:
Reckoning with Markets
Author(s):

James Halteman

Edd Noell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763702.003.0002

After considering why modern economists pay little attention to ancient thinkers, the chapter explores the views of Aristotle with particular attention to his views on the moral life. Aristotle’s view of happiness focuses on what is really good for people rather than what is desired at any given time. Morality for Aristotle was not religious. His views on social organization, exchange and pricing, money and interest, and all other economic matters focused on justice and true happiness. Hesiod’s portrayal of the common person is then contrasted with Aristotle’s idealized vision. The chapter also describes the contribution of the Hebrews and some of the biblical teaching on economic relationships as well as the Stoic philosophy that caught the attention of Adam Smith many centuries later. The vignette at the end of the chapter is titled “Aristotle and the Purpose of Life.”

Keywords:   aristotle, happiness, hesiod, biblical literature, stoics

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