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Aristotle on justice in exchange:commensurability by fiat

Mark S. Peacock ()
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Mark S. Peacock: York University, Toronto (Canada)

The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2016, vol. 10, issue 1, 5-27

Abstract: This essay offers an interpretation of Aristotle's remarks on the commensurability of goods in Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics. It explores the term ‘by hypothesis’ which Aristotle uses to describe the institution of currency through which commensurability is established. The term implies that Aristotle conceives the origins of currency to lie in a conscious act of stipulation rather than through a spontaneous process in which currency is established via the unintended consequences of individual action. In conclusion, contemporary theories of money are considered and it is asked with which Aristotle’s conception of money aligns most closely.

Keywords: Aristotle; commensurability; money; exchange; Nicomachean Ethics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Handle: RePEc:bus:jphile:v:10:y:2016:i:1:n:1