The CUNY Social and Political Philosophy Working Group serves as a forum for the discussion of works-in-progress from diverse approaches in any area of social and political philosophy or applied ethics, broadly construed.
Towards A Philosophical Theory of Money
Jules Salomone, Philosophy PhD Student, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Monday, November 10th, 2014, 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Room 5109
Abstract: Towards A Philosophical Theory of Money
In this paper, I will argue in favor of three interrelated theses: 1) economics cannot but fail to provide us with a satisfactory account of money; 2) in spite of its obvious merits, Searle’s general social ontology needs some serious revisions if it is to explain what money is; 3) although money is arguably a social convention, it must necessarily exist for reasons that go beyond its conventional nature. More precisely, 1′) I will explain why mainstream economics must proceed as if money does not exist and why alternative theories that try to account for the existence of money begs the question. 2′) Although social ontology will consequently appear to be able to do what economics fails to do, I will focus on Searle, one of the leading figures of that field, and show why his theory is not fit for purpose. The discussion will bear upon both his account of the physical counterpart of social entities and his claim that such entities owe their existence to some enigmatic fiat. 3′) Drawing the lessons from my criticism of Searle and taking inspiration from Aristotle’s underestimated theory of money, I will finally argue that money must exist for normative reasons. Among other things, I will explain why only monetary exchanges can be fair.
Upcoming Talk: December 2
Aaron Bentley, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Matthew Rachar, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Image: Moyan Brenn