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PSCI 293 Politics, Philosophy, and Economics: How to Change the World

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  • Fall 2022
    Rosa Terlazzo
    Fall 2022 — MW 12:30 - 13:45

    Consider the litany of problems we humans encounter across the globe: Environmental exploitation and degradation, dire poverty, profound and growing political-economic inequality, deep, often deadly divisions within nations along, among other dimensions, race gender and class, massive migration of populations (whether voluntary or not) across borders. The list goes on. It is daunting to the point of being intellectually and practically debilitating. For citizens, activists, government officials, and economic actors it is difficult to know where and how to start thinking about responses. In the face of such difficulties (and others) we urgently require responses that are both effective and justifiable. In order to identify and implement them we must not only understand how markets or individual elements of political systems work, or even how the various elements of our political and economic systems interact. We also must be able to think carefully about our obligations to our fellow human beings, and the values that we ultimately want our shared world to insatiate and be anchored by. Changing the world (let alone "saving" it!), then, requires a deeply interdisciplinary approach.

    This course will be focused on helping students to develop the skills to bring ethical, microeconomic, and game theoretic analysis to bear on fundamental problems like those we mention above. Students should leave the course with a better understanding not just of how our political-economic practices and institutions do work - but also how they could work, how they should work, and how to make them work that way. (Offered every fall, teaching alternates between philosophy and politics, but all offerings satisfy the same requirements)
    [Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy]

  • Fall 2021
    James Johnson, Rosa Terlazzo
    Fall 2021 — MW 12:30 - 1:45

    Consider the litany of problems we humans encounter across the globe: Environmental exploitation and degradation, dire poverty, profound and growing political-economic inequality, deep, often deadly divisions within nations along, among other dimensions, race gender and class, massive migration of populations (whether voluntary or not) across borders. The list goes on. It is daunting to the point of being intellectually and practically debilitating. For citizens, activists, government officials, and economic actors it is difficult to know where and how to start thinking about responses. In the face of such difficulties (and others) we urgently require responses that are both effective and justifiable. In order to identify and implement them we must not only understand how markets or individual elements of political systems work, or even how the various elements of our political and economic systems interact. We also must be able to think carefully about our obligations to our fellow human beings, and the values that we ultimately want our shared world to insatiate and be anchored by. Changing the world (let alone "saving" it!), then, requires a deeply interdisciplinary approach.

    This course will be focused on helping students to develop the skills to bring ethical, microeconomic, and game theoretic analysis to bear on fundamental problems like those we mention above. Students should leave the course with a better understanding not just of how our political-economic practices and institutions do work - but also how they could work, how they should work, and how to make them work that way. (Offered every fall, teaching alternates between philosophy and politics, but all offerings satisfy the same requirements)
    [Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy]