Economics and Theology After the Separation
Ross B. Emmett
Michigan State University - James Madison College; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
September 20, 2011
Once economics came to be understood as the scientific investigation of the operation of markets, economic theorists pushed ethical and metaphysical concerns outside their realm of study. After the separation, the claims of Christian theology had no more jurisdiction over the discipline of economics than they did over other scientific disciplines. On one side, you had the empirical investigations of systems and processes, with their attendant scientific explanations; on the other, the interpretation of meaning and moral value, with their attendant theological explanations. For the past two hundred years, the scientific and the theological have, for the most part, been understood to be separable realms. That separation has often been understood as part of secularization, yet, economics and theology have often intersected since the separation. In some cases, these intersections have been directly connected to developments in economic analysis; in others, they have strengthened the different modes by which the two fields understand their contributions to human flourishing. We will conclude with a restatement of the apparent modes of contribution, and a reconsideration of the connection between the separation and secularization.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: Economics, Theology, Economics and Theology, Economics and Religion, Whately, Wicksteed, Knight, Ely, Social Gospel
JEL Classification: A12, A13, B12, B13, B15, B20, B31, B41working papers series
Date posted: October 31, 2011
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