Major: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)


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Effective Winter 2013

May be elected as an interdepartmental major, administered by the Department of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy, in conjunction with the Department of Economics and the Department of Political Science, offers PPE as an interdisciplinary major program in political economy. The program will stress analytic rigor and critical reasoning, and is unique in combining normative inquiry, empirical methods, and formal tools of analysis. It integrates the study of the relationships of government, political processes, property, production, markets, trade, and distribution from the standpoint of assessing these arrangements with respect to the interests and progress of humanity. The following features are characteristic of research in political economy:

  • Exploration of the relations between individual action and collective outcomes as they shape and are shaped by environmental conditions, institutions, social norms, ideologies, and strategic and communicative interaction
  • Special attention to the consequences of these relations for politics (voting, political parties, lobbying, elections, social movements, revolution, civil war, state failure, oligarchy, dictatorship, corruption, etc.), law and economic policies (taxation, regulation, property and trade regimes, macroeconomic management, etc.), aggregate economic outcomes (business cycles; the provision, degradation, or maintenance of public goods, etc.), and justice and human welfare (poverty, inequality, intergroup relations, freedom, etc.)
  • Formal methods of analysis including decision theory, game theory, evolutionary game theory, behavioral economics, and agent-based modeling; the use of analytic frameworks (such as principal-agent problems and positional competition) to understand characteristic problems that arise for human beings across disparate domains of action
  • Critical reflection on the uses and limits of these methods and frameworks in light of empirical information and interpretations drawn from other disciplines, including history, psychology, and sociology, as well as normative and conceptual analysis
  • Integration of formal, empirical, interpretive, and normative inquiry to evaluate and design existing and alternative economic systems, constitutions, smaller-scale institutions, organizations, and social norms with a view toward improving their justice and service to human welfare.

The PPE major provides Michigan undergraduates with a rigorous, integrated, and interdisciplinary program of study that brings together three major approaches to understanding human beings and their social and political interactions. Core courses will expose students to a wide range of analytical tools and research methods in the social sciences, and will seek to foster the critical reasoning and rhetorical skills that are essential for philosophical writing and argumentation.

 

Application. Students must apply for and be accepted into the major. Students are declared into the major by a department advisor only.

Due to the rigorous and interdisciplinary nature of its subject matter, and to ensure a high quality educational experience, the PPE program will be selective (as it is in many other PPE programs in the U.S.) and require an application. Applications are considered once each Fall and Winter academic terms. Application deadlines will be announced on the PPE website. Students may apply for admission to the major as early as the winter term of their second year. Second-year applicants must have completed (with final grades showing) at least the prerequisites to the major, and should be enrolled in, or have completed, at least one further course that can be counted toward the major. Students who apply in the fall of their junior year must have completed the prerequisites and be enrolled in, or have completed, at least two further courses that can be counted toward the major. Admissions will be based on the grade point average in the prerequisite courses and other courses satisfying PPE requirements, overall grade point average, and a brief personal statement. Admission to PPE is conditional on earning C- or better in all prerequisites.

Prerequisites to major. 

  1. one 100- or 200-level PHIL course other than PHIL 180, 201, 296 (logic)
  2. one introduction to political science: POLSCI 101 or 111 or 140 or 160
  3. ECON 101 and ECON 102
  4. One course in calculus (MATH 115, 116, 121, 156, 175, 176, 185, 186, 215, 295, or 296).

Program of study in a major: The major consists of 12 courses. At least 16 credits must be taken in residence. No course will count toward the major unless the student receives a grade of C— or better.

Courses must be distributed as follows:

  1. PPE Core Courses:
    1. Economics: ECON 401: Intermediate Microeconomics
    2. Gateway: PPE 300: Introduction to Political Economy
    3. Capstone: PPE 400: Senior Seminar in Political Economy (Honors students take PPE 401-2 instead)
  2. Core Distribution Requirements PPE integrates normative inquiry and formal analytical tools with the substantive study of politics and economics. The PPE major therefore requires two courses each in normative theory, political economy, and formal methods.
    1. Formal Reasoning:one course in statistics and one additional course in statistics, logic, decision theory, or game theory from the list below. 
      1. One course in statistics. Choose from among:
        • ECON 404: Statistics for Economists
        • ECON 405: Introduction to Statistics
        • STATS 250: Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
        • STATS 426: Introduction to Theoretical Statistics
      2. A course in other formal methods central to political economy – statistics, logic, decision theory, or game theory from the following:
        • ECON 398: Strategy
        • ECON 409: Game Theory
        • PHIL 296: Honors Introduction to Logic
        • PHIL 303: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
        • PHIL 305: Introduction to Formal Philosophical Methods
        • PHIL 413: Formal Philosophical Methods
        • PHIL 414: Mathematical Logic
        • PHIL 443: Foundations of Rational Choice Theory
        • POLSCI 381: Political Science Research Design
        • POLSCI 391 / CMPLXSYS 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
        • POLSCI 488: Political Dynamics
        • POLSCI 490: Game Theory and Formal Models
        • POLSCI 499: Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis
        • CMPLXSYS 391 / POLSCI 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
        • MATH 425 / STATS 425: Introduction to Probability
        • STATS 425 / MATH 425: Introduction to Probability
    2. Normative Theory: two 300- or 400- level courses in political philosophy, political theory, or welfare economics from the list below.
      • ECON 408 / PHIL 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • ECON 496. History of Economic Thought
      • PHIL 359: Law and Philosophy
      • PHIL 361: Ethics
      • PHIL 366: Introduction to Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 367: 19th Century Social and Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 369: Philosophy of Law
      • PHIL 408 / ECON 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • PHIL 430: Topics in Ethics
      • PHIL 431: Normative Ethics
      • PHIL 433: History of Ethics
      • PHIL 441: Social Philosophy
      • PHIL 442: Topics in Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 445: Philosophy of Law
      • POLSCI 301: Development of Political Thought: To Modern Period
      • POLSCI 302: Development of Political Thought: Modern and Recent
      • POLSCI 306: American Political Thought
      • POLSCI 400: Selected Topics in Political Theory (appropriate sections)
      • POLSCI 401 / WOMENSTD 422: Feminist Political Theory
      • POLSCI 402: Liberalism and Its Critics
      • POLSCI 403 / CLCIV 403: Greek Political Thought
      • POLSCI 404: Foundations of Modern Political Thought
      • POLSCI 405: Political Philosophy of the Enlightenment
      • POLSCI 409: Twentieth Century Political Thought
      • POLSCI 495: Undergraduate Seminar in Political Theory (appropriate sections)
      • CLCIV 403 / POLSCI 403: Greek Political Thought
      • WOMENSTD 422 / POLSCI 401: Feminist Political Theory
    3. Political Economy: two courses engaging the economics of government or the politics of economic activity or institutions from the list below.
      • ECON 330 American Industries
      • ECON 398: Strategy
      • ECON 402: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
      • ECON 408 / PHIL 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • ECON 409: Game Theory
      • ECON 425 / POLSCI 425: Inequality in the United States
      • ECON 432: Government Regulation of Industry
      • ECON 481: Government Expenditures
      • ECON 482: Government Revenues
      • PHIL 408 / ECON 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • POLSCI 322: Legislative Process
      • POLSCI 337: Comparative Constitutional Design
      • POLSCI 340: Governments and Politics in Western Europe (section titled "A Game-Theoretic Approach to West European Politics")
      • POLSCI 341: Comparative Politics of Developed Democracies
      • POLSCI 343: Political Economy of Developed Democracies
      • POLSCI 348: Political Economy of Development
      • POLSCI 363: International Organization & Integration
      • POLSCI 364: Public International Law
      • POLSCI 369: Politics of International Economic Relations
      • POLSCI 387: Comparative Analysis of Government Institutions
      • POLSCI 389: Topics in Contemporary Political Economy (section titled "Political Strategy & Debate")
      • POLSCI 391/CMPLXSYS 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
      • POLSCI 425 / ECON 425: Inequality in the United States
      • POLSCI 432: Law and Public Policy
      • POLSCI 462: Strategic Interaction in World Politics
      • POLSCI 496: Undergraduate Seminar in American Government and Politics (sections titled "U.S. State Economic Development Policies", "Modern Debates in U.S. Constitutional Law")
      • CMPLXSYS 391/POLSCI 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
  3. Themes: three additional courses (or two additional courses plus the Honors thesis sequence for Honors students) in a single theme in political economy. At least two of these courses must be at the 400-level, and two must come from distinct academic disciplines. PPE students are advised to start planning their themes as soon as they are admitted to the major. 

    Students will devise a plan for advanced study focusing on a single theme in political economy, which may be normative, methodological, theoretical, or applied. Each student will write up a rationale for their theme in consultation with their PPE advisor and submit it to their advisor for approval. Possible themes could include advanced studies in any of the core areas, or focus on particular subjects/methods – for example, decision-making & strategic interaction, globalization, justice & equality, or comparative political economy.
    Courses listed under the core requirements may be used to satisfy the theme requirement as long as they are not also being used to satisfy the core requirement.
    The PPE committee will recommend courses for the theme requirement and post those to the PPE website. Students may propose courses not on the list that make a coherent fit with their theme. PPE advisors are authorized to approve such courses for the theme requirement.

    Non-Honors students would follow their theme with the capstone seminar.

Honors Plan. In addition to fulfilling the prerequisites, PPE core, and distribution requirements, Honors students will take two courses in their theme and dedicate their thesis to a research project in that theme. Honors students take PPE 401-402 as their capstone course.

To be admitted to the Honors PPE program, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 in courses used to satisfy PPE requirements, or permission of the director of PPE. Prospective PPE Honors students should begin planning their Honors program with their advisor as soon as possible.

Honors students will submit a thesis proposal for approval by the director of PPE. They will write a thesis in their theme under one of the following options:

  • PPE 401 (thesis preparation seminar) and PPE 402 (an independent study thesis-writing course under the principal supervision of a faculty member in one of the three departments).
    Honors in PPE (PPE 401-402) will initially be run as meet-togethers with the respective Honors offerings of the three departments, and Honors PPE students will sort themselves into the different Honors thesis courses according to their primary disciplinary orientation. Thus, Honors PPE students may take PPE 401 as a meet-together with PHIL 401, POLSCI 493, or ECON 495 (the respective thesis-prep courses for each department). In the second term of their Honors sequence, PPE students will continue with PHIL 499 or POLSCI 494, if their theses are oriented to philosophy or political science, and may continue with ECON 495/498, if their economics-oriented thesis calls for a second academic term of work.
  • ECON 495: Seminar in Economics or ECON 498: Honors Independent Research for students intending to write an economics-oriented Honors thesis for PPE. Most economics-oriented PPE theses would be expected to enroll in ECON 495, which is the primary Honors thesis vehicle for economics majors.

Honors will be awarded by a two-person committee consisting of the student’s advisor plus a second reader in one of the other units, on the basis of the written thesis and an oral defense.

 

Philosophy, Politics, And Economics (PPE) Major (Fall 2012) +

Effective Fall 2012

May be elected as an interdepartmental concentration, administered by the Department of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy, in conjunction with the Department of Economics and the Department of Political Science, offers PPE as an interdisciplinary concentration program in political economy. The program will stress analytic rigor and critical reasoning, and is unique in combining normative inquiry, empirical methods, and formal tools of analysis. It integrates the study of the relationships of government, political processes, property, production, markets, trade, and distribution from the standpoint of assessing these arrangements with respect to the interests and progress of humanity. The following features are characteristic of research in political economy:

  • Exploration of the relations between individual action and collective outcomes as they shape and are shaped by environmental conditions, institutions, social norms, ideologies, and strategic and communicative interaction
  • Special attention to the consequences of these relations for politics (voting, political parties, lobbying, elections, social movements, revolution, civil war, state failure, oligarchy, dictatorship, corruption, etc.), law and economic policies (taxation, regulation, property and trade regimes, macroeconomic management, etc.), aggregate economic outcomes (business cycles; the provision, degradation, or maintenance of public goods, etc.), and justice and human welfare (poverty, inequality, intergroup relations, freedom, etc.)
  • Formal methods of analysis including decision theory, game theory, evolutionary game theory, behavioral economics, and agent-based modeling; the use of analytic frameworks (such as principal-agent problems and positional competition) to understand characteristic problems that arise for human beings across disparate domains of action
  • Critical reflection on the uses and limits of these methods and frameworks in light of empirical information and interpretations drawn from other disciplines, including history, psychology, and sociology, as well as normative and conceptual analysis
  • Integration of formal, empirical, interpretive, and normative inquiry to evaluate and design existing and alternative economic systems, constitutions, smaller-scale institutions, organizations, and social norms with a view toward improving their justice and service to human welfare.

The PPE concentration provides Michigan undergraduates with a rigorous, integrated, and interdisciplinary program of study that brings together three major approaches to understanding human beings and their social and political interactions. Core courses will expose students to a wide range of analytical tools and research methods in the social sciences, and will seek to foster the critical reasoning and rhetorical skills that are essential for philosophical writing and argumentation.

 

Application. Students must apply for and be accepted into the concentration program. Students are declared into the concentration by a concentration advisor only.

Due to the rigorous and interdisciplinary nature of its subject matter, and to ensure a high quality educational experience, the PPE program will be selective (as it is in many other PPE programs in the U.S.) and require an application. Applications are considered once each Fall and Winter academic terms. Application deadlines will be announced on the PPE website. Students may apply for admission to the concentration as early as the winter term of their second year. Second-year applicants must have completed (with final grades showing) at least the prerequisites to the concentration, and should be enrolled in, or have completed, at least one further course that can be counted toward the concentration. Students who apply in the fall of their junior year must have completed the prerequisites and be enrolled in, or have completed, at least two further courses that can be counted toward the concentration. Admissions will be based on the grade point average in the prerequisite courses and other courses satisfying PPE requirements, overall grade point average, and a brief personal statement. Admission to PPE is conditional on earning C- or better in all prerequisites.

Prerequisites to concentration. 

  1. one 100- or 200-level PHIL course other than PHIL 180, 201, 296 (logic)
  2. one introduction to political science: POLSCI 101 or 111 or 140 or 160
  3. ECON 101 and ECON 102
  4. One course in calculus (MATH 115, 116, 121, 156, 175, 176, 185, 186, 215, 295, or 296).

Concentration Program: The concentration consists of 12 courses. At least 16 credits must be taken in residence. No course will count toward the concentration unless the student receives a grade of C— or better.

Courses must be distributed as follows:

  1. PPE Core Courses:
    1. Economics: ECON 401: Intermediate Microeconomics
    2. Gateway: PPE 300: Introduction to Political Economy
    3. Capstone: PPE 400: Senior Seminar in Political Economy (Honors students take PPE 401-2 instead)
  2. Core Distribution Requirements PPE integrates normative inquiry and formal analytical tools with the substantive study of politics and economics. The PPE concentration therefore requires two courses each in normative theory, political economy, and formal methods.
    1. Formal Reasoning:one course in statistics and one additional course in statistics, logic, decision theory, or game theory from the list below. 
      1. One course in statistics. Choose from among:
        • ECON 404: Statistics for Economists
        • ECON 405: Introduction to Statistics
        • STATS 250: Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
        • STATS 426: Introduction to Theoretical Statistics
      2. A course in other formal methods central to political economy – statistics, logic, decision theory, or game theory from the following:
        • ECON 398: Strategy
        • ECON 409: Game Theory
        • PHIL 296: Honors Introduction to Logic
        • PHIL 303: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
        • PHIL 305: Introduction to Formal Philosophical Methods
        • PHIL 413: Formal Philosophical Methods
        • PHIL 414: Mathematical Logic
        • PHIL 443: Foundations of Rational Choice Theory
        • POLSCI 381: Political Science Research Design
        • POLSCI 391 / CMPLXSYS 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
        • POLSCI 488: Political Dynamics
        • POLSCI 490: Game Theory and Formal Models
        • POLSCI 499: Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis
        • CMPLXSYS 391 / POLSCI 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
        • MATH 425 / STATS 425: Introduction to Probability
        • STATS 425 / MATH 425: Introduction to Probability
    2. Normative Theory: two 300- or 400- level courses in political philosophy, political theory, or welfare economics from the list below.
      • ECON 408 / PHIL 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • ECON 496. History of Economic Thought
      • PHIL 359: Law and Philosophy
      • PHIL 361: Ethics
      • PHIL 366: Introduction to Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 367: 19th Century Social and Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 369: Philosophy of Law
      • PHIL 408 / ECON 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • PHIL 430: Topics in Ethics
      • PHIL 431: Normative Ethics
      • PHIL 433: History of Ethics
      • PHIL 441: Social Philosophy
      • PHIL 442: Topics in Political Philosophy
      • PHIL 445: Philosophy of Law
      • POLSCI 301: Development of Political Thought: To Modern Period
      • POLSCI 302: Development of Political Thought: Modern and Recent
      • POLSCI 306: American Political Thought
      • POLSCI 400: Selected Topics in Political Theory (appropriate sections)
      • POLSCI 401 / WOMENSTD 422: Feminist Political Theory
      • POLSCI 402: Liberalism and Its Critics
      • POLSCI 403 / CLCIV 403: Greek Political Thought
      • POLSCI 404: Foundations of Modern Political Thought
      • POLSCI 405: Political Philosophy of the Enlightenment
      • POLSCI 409: Twentieth Century Political Thought
      • POLSCI 495: Undergraduate Seminar in Political Theory (appropriate sections)
      • CLCIV 403 / POLSCI 403: Greek Political Thought
      • WOMENSTD 422 / POLSCI 401: Feminist Political Theory
    3. Political Economy: two courses engaging the economics of government or the politics of economic activity or institutions from the list below.
      • ECON 398: Strategy
      • ECON 402: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
      • ECON 408 / PHIL 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • ECON 409: Game Theory
      • ECON 425 / POLSCI 425: Inequality in the United States
      • ECON 432: Government Regulation of Industry
      • ECON 481: Government Expenditures
      • ECON 482: Government Revenues
      • PHIL 408 / ECON 408: Philosophy and Economics
      • POLSCI 322: Legislative Process
      • POLSCI 337: Comparative Constitutional Design
      • POLSCI 340: Governments and Politics in Western Europe (section titled "A Game-Theoretic Approach to West European Politics")
      • POLSCI 341: Comparative Politics of Developed Democracies
      • POLSCI 343: Political Economy of Developed Democracies
      • POLSCI 348: Political Economy of Development
      • POLSCI 363: International Organization & Integration
      • POLSCI 364: Public International Law
      • POLSCI 369: Politics of International Economic Relations
      • POLSCI 387: Comparative Analysis of Government Institutions
      • POLSCI 389: Topics in Contemporary Political Economy (section titled "Political Strategy & Debate")
      • POLSCI 391/CMPLXSYS 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
      • POLSCI 425 / ECON 425: Inequality in the United States
      • POLSCI 432: Law and Public Policy
      • POLSCI 462: Strategic Interaction in World Politics
      • POLSCI 496: Undergraduate Seminar in American Government and Politics (sections titled "U.S. State Economic Development Policies", "Modern Debates in U.S. Constitutional Law")
      • CMPLXSYS 391/POLSCI 391: Introduction to Modeling Political Processes
  3. Themes: three additional courses (or two additional courses plus the Honors thesis sequence for Honors students) in a single theme in political economy. At least two of these courses must be at the 400-level, and two must come from distinct academic disciplines. PPE students are advised to start planning their themes as soon as they are admitted to the concentration. 

    Students will devise a plan for advanced study focusing on a single theme in political economy, which may be normative, methodological, theoretical, or applied. Each student will write up a rationale for their theme in consultation with their PPE advisor and submit it to their advisor for approval. Possible themes could include advanced studies in any of the core areas, or focus on particular subjects/methods – for example, decision-making & strategic interaction, globalization, justice & equality, or comparative political economy.
    Courses listed under the core requirements may be used to satisfy the theme requirement as long as they are not also being used to satisfy the core requirement.
    The PPE committee will recommend courses for the theme requirement and post those to the PPE website. Students may propose courses not on the list that make a coherent fit with their theme. PPE advisors are authorized to approve such courses for the theme requirement.

    Non-Honors students would follow their theme with the capstone seminar.

Honors Concentration. In addition to fulfilling the prerequisites, PPE core, and distribution requirements, Honors students will take two courses in their theme and dedicate their thesis to a research project in that theme. Honors students take PPE 401-402 as their capstone course.

To be admitted to the Honors PPE program, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 in courses used to satisfy PPE requirements, or permission of the director of PPE. Prospective PPE Honors students should begin planning their Honors program with their advisor as soon as possible.

Honors students will submit a thesis proposal for approval by the director of PPE. They will write a thesis in their theme under one of the following options:

  • PPE 401 (thesis preparation seminar) and PPE 402 (an independent study thesis-writing course under the principal supervision of a faculty member in one of the three departments).
    Honors in PPE (PPE 401-402) will initially be run as meet-togethers with the respective Honors offerings of the three departments, and Honors PPE students will sort themselves into the different Honors thesis courses according to their primary disciplinary orientation. Thus, Honors PPE students may take PPE 401 as a meet-together with PHIL 401, POLSCI 493, or ECON 495 (the respective thesis-prep courses for each department). In the second term of their Honors sequence, PPE students will continue with PHIL 499 or POLSCI 494, if their theses are oriented to philosophy or political science, and may continue with ECON 495/498, if their economics-oriented thesis calls for a second academic term of work.
  • ECON 495: Seminar in Economics or ECON 498: Honors Independent Research for students intending to write an economics-oriented Honors thesis for PPE. Most economics-oriented PPE theses would be expected to enroll in ECON 495, which is the primary Honors thesis vehicle for economics concentrators.

Honors will be awarded by a two-person committee consisting of the student’s advisor plus a second reader in one of the other units, on the basis of the written thesis and an oral defense.

 


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