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Foolishness and identity: Amartya Sen and Adam Smith

Caroline Gerschlager

No 08-03.RS, DULBEA Working Papers from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: Drawing on Amartya Sen the paper aims at a better understanding of the motivational foundation of the economic agent by analysing Adam Smith’s insights into the foolishness of human ambitions. It inquires whether there is another side to the pursuit of self-interest in Adam Smith and particularly accentuates his parable of the poor man’s son as a prototypical example. Complementing the standard views of the self and their recent extensions, the present analysis of the parable advances a description of economic identity based on selfreflexivity and conscious change of preferences.

Keywords: hypertrophic self-love; self-deceit; illusion; change of preference; self-reflexivity. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-his, nep-hpe and nep-pke
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Published by: ULB, DULBEA

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