Behavioral Economics

The Human Sciences Area of Knowledge focuses on the social sciences NOT including history.  Behavioral Economics is an excellent discipline to study within this AOK because it is the marriage between psychology and economics, two previously distinct social sciences.

Read this primer below from Harvard Magazine on Behavioral Economics and then head to the internet to find some interesting studies emanating from the discipline!

http://harvardmagazine.com/2006/03/the-marketplace-of-perce.html

We’ll discuss the following questions related to the study/research/finding you discover:

  1. What prior assumptions did this research refute?
  2. What assumptions are present in the research?
  3. Are any truth claims made?
  4. What is the impact of these findings?
  5. What are the implications beyond the immediate findings?
  6. What Ways of Knowing were utilized in constructing this knowledge?
  7. What are the limitations of the findings?
  8. What are the strengths of the findings?
  9. SO WHAT?!!?! Why does this finding matter to you?

So what does this mean for economics as a discipline? Can we create models that accurately predict economic performance? If no, then what is the most beneficial path forward?  Does this make you favor government regulation more so than previously?

Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism

As an introduction to ETHICS, move through this incredibly excellent introduction to ethics, ethical hypocrisy, kantian ethics and utilitarianism: 

http://www.philosophyexperiments.com/fatman/Default.aspx

One of the heaviest hitters in the philosophical world of ethics is German Philosopher Emanuel Kant.

Kant wrote at length on a variety of topics and is considered one of the great German Philosophers along with Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Schopenhauer.

Below is a link to a great summary of Kant’s famous, “Categorical Imperative” and his Deontological Moral Theory.

http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/Kantian%20Ethics.htm

This is in contrast to UTILITARIANISM which is a philosophical perspective that places an emphasis on choosing behaviors and actions that have the most advantageous ratio of utility (value) to risk/disadvantage. John Stuart Mill was one of the most famous philosophical proponents of utilitarianism. Below is some information:

http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part2/sect9.html

So…after you’ve read the above and contemplated each philosophy’s ramifications, answer the following questions: 

1.  Which moral approach do you follow, Utilitarianism or Kantian Morality?

2.  Which moral approach do you believe is BEST for society? Why?

3.  Is it possible for a society to adopt Kant’s moral beliefs?

4.  Which approach causes the practitioner to be in touch with more ways of knowing? Which ways of knowing does each approach rely on?