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The Moral Meaning of Money

What exactly is money, and how does it relate to morality? In this course, we will think about moral meaning of money with the help of sources both ancient and modern, from the Bible and Aristotle to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. The ancient Greeks and Jews were wary of wealth and its potential for moral corruption whereas modern capitalist thinkers often tie prosperity positively to virtue and progress. How can we account for this apparent disagreement? How do we assess capitalism’s miraculous advances and its attendant potential vices? These questions do not have easy or simple answers, but through our readings and discussions we will come to understand different conceptions of wealth, money, and commerce and the role they play in private lives and public order.