- Series: Wadsworth Philosophical Topics
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (November 21, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0495008982
- ISBN-13: 978-0495008989
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (Wadsworth Philosophical Topics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In the opening chapter, Gaus distinguishes economic accounts of rational action from instrumental, or goal-oriented, rationality.
The second chapter covers utility theory, which is the foundation of the economic approach to social and political behavior.
In the third chapter, Gaus explains and illustrates the predominant conception of economic efficiency, "Pareto efficiency," which holds that an exchange is efficient if no party is made worse off, and at least one party is better off (by their own judgments). Gaus argues that economists favor free markets because, in the absence of externalities (or third-party affects), free exchanges produce efficient outcomes. You have tacos, I have pizza, we both have a decreasing marginal appetite for the food we already have, so we trade.
In chapter four Gaus tackles game theory. Philosophers and social scientists are captivated by the Prisoners' Dilemma (PD), Gaus claims, primarily because it is an instance of individually rational behavior leading to Pareto inferior (or inefficient) results. One of the most interesting parts of the book is Gaus's argument that the elusive attempt to 'solve' the PD stems from the fact that we are tempted to look at the game from the standpoint of people who cannot in fact be modeled by it.Read more ›