This page features a collection of the best resources on the philosophy of economics. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on the philosophy of economics. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an academic overview of philosophy of economics:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Philosophy of Economics. However, you should keep in mind that the SEP is often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 17,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces philosophy of economics:
““Philosophy of Economics” consists of inquiries concerning (a) rational choice, (b) the appraisal of economic outcomes, institutions and processes, and (c) the ontology of economic phenomena and the possibilities of acquiring knowledge of them. Although these inquiries overlap in many ways, it is useful to divide philosophy of economics in this way into three subject matters which can be regarded respectively as branches of action theory, ethics (or normative social and political philosophy), and philosophy of science. Economic theories of rationality, welfare, and social choice defend substantive philosophical theses often informed by relevant philosophical literature and of evident interest to those interested in action theory, philosophical psychology, and social and political philosophy. Economics is of particular interest to those interested in epistemology and philosophy of science both because of its detailed peculiarities and because it possesses many of the overt features of the natural sciences, while its object consists of social phenomena. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read John Rapley’s article: Few things are as dangerous as economists with physics envy [1200 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on Philosophy of Economics.
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.