Ontological Commitments of Ethics and Economics

Karey Harrison


This paper analyses the cognitive image schemas structuring the ontological commitments of dominant conceptions of ethics and economics to show that the content of economics is implicated in conceptions of ethics, and that these conceptions cannot be separated from questions of research and professional ethics. This analysis of the metaphoric structuring of the ontological commitments of ethics and economics is based on an extension of Kuhn’s construct sense of ‘paradigm’ as concrete analogy; and on techniques of metaphoric analysis developed in cognitive linguistics. Analysis of the iconic and schematic representations of the concrete analogies and idealised cognitive models structuring economic and ethical theories expose both shared and conflicting ontological commitments.

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Published on 15th April, 2013, in Economic Thought Vol 2, No 1, 2013