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Reasons for the changes of the concepts of human nature in the economics exemplified on the contemporary trends[1]

Anna Horodecka ()

No 131/2015, Working Papers from Institute of Economic Research

Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to characterize the key trends responsible for the changes of the concepts of human nature in the economics. The methodology is both deductive (conclusions from theories developed within social sciences and humanities) and inductive (observation of current trends, which according to the theory are potentially responsible for those changes). Basing on the insights of psychology, philosophy of science, sociology, and cognitive science main potential forces are deduced. From the observation of actual trends, the basic contemporary factors responsible for the changes of the concepts of human nature are distinguished. Those can be divided in three groups. The first group contains factors focusing on the advance in knowledge about the human being, occurring within the general and specific sciences dealing with man (e.g. psychology, sociology, philosophy, cognitive science). The second group of factors includes the increasing complexity of the social processes. The third group refers to those social trends, which are responsible for altering understanding the world, which in turn results in real changes. Virtualization of life, greater sensitivity to human and environmental issues, increased contacts with other cultures and religions, greater sensitivity to the existing social injustice are some of those factors. Basing on those results, the reasons for growing criticism of traditional, orthodox image of man in the economics are discussed and the postulates of the heterodox economics for modifications in the concept of human nature, which reflect the changes taking place in society.

Keywords: concepts of human nature; social trends; economic anthropology; heterodox economics; economic psychology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-05, Revised 2015-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hme and nep-pke
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Handle: RePEc:pes:wpaper:2015:no131