PHIL 444 - Groups and Choices
Winter 2018, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:


This course studies the distinctive issues about choices and decisions that arise when we're making decisions in groups. We will look at work by philosophers, economists and political scientists on the best ways to make choices in social situations, and to think about how and why people make the choices they do. The first part of the course will cover game theory, the second part will cover voting theory, and the last part will concern group agency. The course is structured to move from more individualistic to more social perspectives. We start with self-interested agents, who only care about other agents insofar as choices those other agents make influence the outcome they get. Over the course we make the focus more and more social, until we end with discussion of whether groups can know things, and choose things, that no member of the group knows, or chooses. At every stage, we mix discussion of mathematical modeling of the choice situation with philosophical work on the appropriateness of those models. So the course will have something to offer students who need to learn about the mathematical modeling, and students who would like to see more critical reflection on the mathematical tools they have acquired.

Course Requirements:

Half of the evaluation of the course will be based on periodic short, mathematical, exercises. The other half will be based on a mid term essay and a final essay, largely concerned with the strengths and weaknesses of those formal tools.

Intended Audience:

The course will be especially interesting to students interested in politics, philosophy and economics, and the readings will draw from all three disciplines. Students will acquire formal skills that are relevant to debates in all three fields, and knowledge of the debates about the limitations of those formal tools.


PHIL 444 - Groups and Choices
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
Th 3:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
Th 4:00PM - 5:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for PHIL 444.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for PHIL 444 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)