On Civilizing Capitalism

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This book shows how modern political, economic and moral theory, including our ideas of liberty and individualism, are trapped in 17th century notions of intuitive reasoning and not informed by modern scientific understanding. Brian Ellis starts with a re-appraisal of the founding of the United Nations and the political and economic policies of the post-war reconstruction period. He then shows how this period, despite its many faults, embodied a philosophy more closely embedded in scientific realism than dominant theories of either left or right today. He goes on to develop this philosophy, meticulously, demolishing theories of Rawls, Nozick and others along the way. The result is a philosophy that investigates how a society actually works, supports evidence-based economics and can better enable human beings to flourish. It is a philosophy that can also accommodate the historical differences between societies and their different, but parallel, development strategies over time.

Author(s): Brian Ellis
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Year: 2023

Language: English
Pages: 267

About the Author
Chapter 1: Evolution and Structure
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Chapter Outlines
1.3 Social Humanism
1.4 Rationalism
1.5 A Globally Progressive Enlightenment
Social Democracy
Chapter 2: Realism in Social Theory
2.1 The Ideal of Realism
2.2 Scientific History
2.3 Dynamics and Kinematics
2.4 Inquiring into the Nature and Causes of Motion
2.5 Economics
2.6 Good Value for Money! Keep Up the Good Work!
2.7 Social Scientific Realism
2.8 Causal Power Realism
Chapter 3: Social Morality
3.1 The Scope of Social Morality
3.2 Government with the Consent of the Governed
3.3 Civilizing Capitalism
Chapter 4: First Philosophy
4.1 First Philosophy for Physical Theory
4.2 Rationalism and Empiricism
4.3 The Dynamics of Capitalism
4.4 First Philosophy for Economic Theory
4.5 First Philosophy for Moral Theory
4.6 States of Mind and Brain
4.7 Rationalism in Political Philosophy
4.8 The New Metaphysics of Morals
4.9 Theory of Social Equality
Chapter 5: Social Democracy and Social Progress
5.1 Basic Capitalism
5.2 Basic Socialism
5.3 Natural Rights
5.4 Political Philosophy in the 1970s
5.5 The Welfare States
5.6 Trumpism
5.7 First Philosophy for Deliberate Action
5.8 Social and Cultural Evolution
The Philosophy of the Welfare State
Chapter 6: The Secular States
6.1 Political Location
6.2 The Good Life (2004)
6.3 Comments on Sect. 6.2
Chapter 7: Eudaimonism
7.1 Human Flourishing
7.2 Social Humanism
7.3 The Importance of Planning
7.4 Some Pathologies of Capitalism
Chapter 8: Liberty
8.1 Three Concepts of Liberty
8.2 Inner Freedom
8.3 Freedom of Speech
8.4 Negative Liberty
8.5 Social Humanism and Practical Liberty
8.6 Critique of Practical Liberty
Chapter 9: Rights
9.1 The Social Contract in Locke’s Treatise
9.2 De Facto Social Contracts
9.3 Origins of Moral Obligation
9.4 Individualism in Moral Theory
Chapter 10: Individualism
10.1 Political and Methodological Individualism
10.2 Methodological Individualism
10.3 Social and Moral Agents
10.4 Social Moral Systems
10.5 Social Humanism and Consequentialism
Chapter 11: Social Contracts
11.1 Natural Rights and Moral Essentialism
11.2 Minimal and Semi-minimal States
11.3 Rousseau’s Social Contract
11.4 Contract Theories of Justice and Equality
11.5 Starting from Where We Are
11.6 The De Facto Social Contract and the Criminal Law
Chapter 12: Humanistic Ethics
12.1 Welfarism
12.2 Acceptable Moral Frameworks
12.3 The Ethics of Humanism
Chapter 13: The New Welfare State
13.1 Description
13.2 How the World Has Changed
13.3 Public versus Private Ownership
13.4 The Social Humanist Programme
13.5 On Corporate Responsibility
Chapter 14: The New World
14.1 The Growing Movement
14.2 Failures of the European Enlightenment
14.3 Philosophy in the European Enlightenment
14.4 Scientific Realism Required
14.5 What Is Now Needed