Order Ethics—An Experimental Perspective
In this chapter, we present supporting arguments for the claim that Order Ethics is a school of thought within ethics which is especially open to empirical evidence. With its focus on order frameworks, i.e., incentive structures, Order Ethical advice automatically raises questions on implementability, efficacy, and efficiency of such recommended institutions, all of which are empirical questions to a good extent. We illustrate our arguments by presenting a small selection of experiments from economics that we consider highly informative for Order Ethics. These experiments vary in their details but share one common theme: individual decision-making and its aggregate results are tested against the background of incentive structures. In particular, these studies provide first insights on how unregulated markets influence moral behaviour over time, how trial-and-error experiences convince subjects to migrate to more efficient institutions, and how default rules can influence fundamental choices of people. We argue that Order Ethics, for which implementability of any moral claim is an essential requirement, can largely benefit from the use of such experimental methods. Finally, we suggest the provision of self-commitment devices as one example of smart policy design that avoids paternalistic intrusions into individual liberty.
- Bardsley, Nicholas, Robin Cubitt, Peter Moffatt, Graham Loomes, Chris Starmer, and Robert Sugden. 2008. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Breyer, Friedrich, and Joachim Weimann. 2015. Of morals, markets and mice: Be careful drawing policy conclusions from experimental findings! European Journal of Political Economy. Available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/aip/01762680.
- Ellison, Brenna, Jayson L. Lusk, and David Davis. 2013. Looking at the label and beyond: the effects of calorie labels, health consciousness, and demographics on caloric intake in restaurants. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 10: 21. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hertwig, Ralph, and Andreas Ortmann. 2001. Experimental practices in economics: A methodological challenge for psychologists? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 383–451.Google Scholar
- Kant, Immanuel. 2004. Die religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft. Hamburg: Meiner.Google Scholar
- Knobe, Joshua, and Shaun Nichols (eds.). 2008. Experimental philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Luetge, Christoph. 2012. Fundamentals of Order Ethics: Law, business ethics and the financial crisis. Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie Beihefte 130: 11–21.Google Scholar
- Luetge, Christoph, Hannes Rusch, and Matthias Uhl (eds.). 2014. Experimental ethics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Popper, Karl R. 1966. The open society and its enemies. The spell of Plato, 5th edn, vol. 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Rusch, Hannes. 2014. Philosophy as the behaviorist views it? In Experimental ethics, ed. Christoph Luetge, Hannes Rusch, and Matthias Uhl. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Rusch, Hannes, Christoph Luetge, and Eckart Voland. 2014. Experimentelle und Evolutionäre Ethik: Eine neue Synthese in der Moralphilosophie? In Bereichsethiken im interdisziplinären Dialog, ed. Matthias Maring, 163–179. Karlsruhe, Baden: KIT Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
- Schelling, Thomas C. 2006. Micromotives and macrobehaviour. New York: W.W Norton & Co.Google Scholar
- Stein, Edward. 1996. Without good reason. The rationality debate in philosophy and cognitive science. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Uhl, Matthias. 2011. Do self-committers mind other-imposed commitment? An experiment on weak paternalism. Rationality, Markets, and Morals 2: 13–34.Google Scholar