Mary Hirschfeld on Aquinas and the Market

Episode Link:

Youtube Channel Link:

Why did I do this show:

I’ve never been one that ‘into’ studying schools of moral thought but one thing I’ve noticed about the insurance business is that we do it all the time. For example, competitors don’t win by being good, they win by cheating and lacking in moral virtue. Success and failure both are moral failings in insurance.. how weird! This is one of my fundamental puzzles of insurance and so features in the podcast!

What did I learn:

There is a really dark side to Mary’s philosophy, as she says there is no such thing as societal moral progress, we’re really the same as we’ve always been. I don’t like this! But there is also a deeply uplifting side which is that for individuals moral progress is not just possible but essential to life. Surely our technology for helping the individual is aggregating over time like all tech?

What was my favorite part:

Learning that Aquinas is a kind of intellectual trump card in Catholic thought. If you can reliably demonstrate that you’re interpreting his philosophy with your position, you win!

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