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Why Pufendorf Matters

  • Dirk Ehnts
  • Erik Jochem
Chapter
  • 17 Downloads
Part of the The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences book series (EHES, volume 23)

Abstract

Modern economics evolves from (neo)classical political economy, which stresses the role of the individual and rationality. Using Kantian foundations, it is argued that economic is what concerns the individual urge to pursue personal wealth. Nature and the social sphere are both ignored. An alternative view can be based on the ideas of human nature that Samuel Pufendorf formed. According to him, man is sociable. His self-interest is often applied toward this end and not an end in itself. Also, nature plays a role as man can decide what to do with it. Last but not least, Pufendorf recognizes that individuals grow up in society, where they are formed through the use of language and the internalization of conventions. Man, without society, is not perfect and cannot hope to strive for happiness. He needs support from society to protect himself from his fellow man and to increase the chances of realizing this drive toward sociability. Economics could be rebuilt on stronger foundations as neuroscience seems to confirm Pufendorf’s view of human nature in general.

Keywords

Homo oeconomicus Homo sociooeconomicus Philosophy Self-interest Sociability 

JEL Codes

A1 B1 B4 P16 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Ehnts
    • 1
  • Erik Jochem
    • 2
  1. 1.TU ChemnitzChemnitzGermany
  2. 2.Pufendorf-Gesellschaft e. V.LeipzigGermany

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