PHIL 110 Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


This is the introductory course for the Political Economy major, but we welcome all students. The Political Economy program explores the relationships between ways of organizing political life (e.g., aristocracy, pure democracy, liberal democracy) and ways of organizing economic life (e.g., free-market capitalism, socialism, communism). How do economic systems advance or frustrate the goals of political orders? The right goals of a political and economic order, however, cannot be determined without exploring an array of philosophical questions: What is justice? What is the best way of life for human beings? Is economic prosperity necessary to that way of life? How can political and economic orders manage the conflicts between individual selfishness and common goods? Are human beings equal? In what ways should we be equal and free? What do we owe ourselves and what do we owe others? To what degree ought we to obey a government? We will then delve into contentious public policy problems (e.g., the distribution of wealth, income inequality, affirmative action, immigration, sexual discrimination), each of which poses moral, political, and economic questions. In general, our goal will be to think honestly and precisely about the quandaries of social, political, and economic life. This course is open to first-year students, sophomores, and those with permission of the instructor.


Degree Requirements