Mohammad Javad Tavakoli

The major goal of this project is to shed light on the main interactions between 'economics' and 'ethics' in general, and the way ethics can help economists in obtaining a better understanding of human nature in particular.
Mohammad Javad Tavakoli
EIPE Ph.D. Student

Homo Economicus and Moral Motivation

The major goal of this project is to shed light on the main interactions between “economics” and “ethics” in general, and the way ethics can help economists in obtaining a better understanding of human nature in particular.

Since “Homo economicus”, as portrayed by most economists, comes very far from the actual human beings, there is a need for a better conceptualization of human nature in economic theories. By introducing “Homo Moralis” as an alternative to “Economic man”, I am inclined to argue that it improves the explanatory power of economic theories by considering the impact of moral motivates on economic behavior.

To think in the Aristotelian framework, the natural inclination towards “ Flourishing” can shape economic behavior in a way that brings different results from what we have expected from Homo economicus. This is not merely a normative theory of economic agents, but it is an attempt to see how actual economic actors are influenced by moral motives.

Following this line of reasoning, rationality will be defined, as David Schmidtz advocates, in a reflective way that covers both means and ends. Moreover, moral preferences are going to be seen as real dispositions, which are stabilized by intentional kinds of reasoning.

Supervisors: Prof. Deirdre McCloskey and prof. Jack Vromen