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date: 04 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The question of human nature and identity is not a common preoccupation of economists. The reasons for this are investigated, and the ways in which a theological understanding of human nature might alter economic analysis are explored. The analysis focuses on: preserving a meaning for the term “selfish”; allowing forms of mutual care which are not “gift exchange”; allowing for a personal identity which values altruistic acts of love; modeling the outcome of the conversion experience; and, using the doctrine of creation to place humans over the natural world as stewards but alongside the natural world as fellow-creatures. The Christian account of human nature, identity, and motivation is not only consistent with some recent empirical work, but gives rise to a picture of human persons which other frameworks must presuppose, sometimes without a clear justification.

Keywords: interdisciplinary, economics, theology, religion, Christianity, human nature, selfishness, identity, motivation, modeling

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