Table of Contents

Handbook of Economics and Ethics

Handbook of Economics and Ethics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Jan Peil and Irene van Staveren

The Handbook of Economics and Ethics portrays an understanding of economic methodology in which facts and values, though distinct, are closely interconnected in a variety of ways. From theory building to data collection, and from modelling to policy evaluation, this encyclopaedic Handbook is at the intersection of economics and ethics.

Chapter 50: Postmodernism

David F. Ruccio

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, history of economic thought


David F. Ruccio Introduction Common belief holds postmodernism not only to be incompatible with ethics but also to undermine any attempt to create a viable or vibrant ethical framework. This is because relativism, with which postmodernism is often conflated, and to which it is often reduced, calls into question universal foundational values. Therefore, modernist critics argue, since one or another set of such values is considered a necessary basis for an ethics, it is incumbent upon philosophers and social theorists (including economists) interested in elaborating an ethical framework to reject postmodernism. From a postmodern perspective, however, quite the opposite may be the case. Whereas modernism has endeavoured to push ethics into the margin, postmodernism creates spaces or moments that highlight or call for ethical decisions. Thus, while there may be no such thing as a ‘postmodern ethics’ – a single ethical stance or framework that can be derived from the writings of postmodern thinkers – the various ideas and approaches grouped under the rubric of postmodernism do establish the terms for a renewed, albeit changed and transformed, conversation about ethics within economics. Postmodernism and modernist ethics There is more than a grain of truth in the modernist proposition asserting that postmodernism makes existing ethical stances difficult if not impossible. Three main theories are generally associated with postmodernism: poststructuralism, especially the work of Michel Foucault; deconstruction, pioneered by Jacques Derrida; and postmodernism proper, associated with Jean-François Lyotard. These have each formulated criticisms of the key premises on which many modernist approaches to...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information