May, 2019

Creativity and Cleverness with Discipline in The Study of Man and the Study of Happiness

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In Aquinas and the Market (2018), Mary Hirschfeld plays the role of scholarly ambassador between two highly specialized disciplines that too rarely interact: economics and theology. Her thorough exposition of economics provides students of theology with a welcome introduction to the discipline well worth a careful reading. We are economists by training, so our criticisms will focus on this aspect of her work. But, her excellent account of the thought of Aquinas, it should be acknowledged, will help students of economics learn the relevance of Thomist philosophy for their work in the positive analysis of human decision making as well as normative welfare economics. And due to the ease with which Hirschfeld negotiates not only between economics and theology, but also engages biblical reading, Church doctrine, practical affairs, and a broader culture conversation, Aquinas and the Market is fit for a much broader audience: parishes, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other communities of faith. Hirschfeld envisions a Thomistic economics in which “the overarching question is how economic life should serve genuine human happiness” (209). We agree that this is the upmost question and hope to show that who answers this question is of upmost importance methodologically, analytically, and social philosophically.