Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Courses

PPE-200 Introduction to PPE

This is a gateway course for PPE major. It will provide students with initial overview of the field, help them integrate the basic knowledge of Philosopy, Political Science, and Economics already acquired, develop intellectual habits of treating social phenomena from tightly interrelated viewpoints grounded in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics, and set up the basic framework for further development of student's knowledge in the field. For example, along with some reading of basic texts, for example A.Smith or T. Hobbes, the course may focus on a multidisciplinary treatment ofimportant social issue (some examples may include poverty, (un)ethicalpractices in economic and political life, environmental degradation, etc.).
Prerequisites: Completion or concurrent enrollment in ECO 101, PHI 110, and one of the PSC intro courses, or consent of the instructor.
Corequisites: Completion or concurrent enrollment in ECO 101, PHI 110, and one of the PSC intro courses, or consent of the instructor.
Credit: 1

PPE-213 Philosophy of Law

An introduction to philosophical issues concerning the analysis of legal concepts and the moral justification of the law. Typical issues include the nature of law and its relation to morality, issues of moral justification arising in specific branches of the law (e.g., criminal, tort, or contract law), and the nature and justification of international law.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PHI-213

PPE-217 Philosophy of Race

This course covers the history of the development of the concept of race, the metaphysical framework for thinking about the "reality" of race, the various ways to consider the meaning of race, and the relation between the meaning of race and the experience of racism. Questions about how difference and equality function in the law and the application of the law, concepts of white privilege and community investment in racial distinctions, intersectional analyses that think race together with gender, class and sexuality and the concept of race in colonial and post-colonial settings are likely topics.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PHI-217

PPE-218 Philosophy of Commerce

This course will consider broadly how concerns for the oikos, the household, the root of our word economics, serve, support and potentially undermine our efforts to live well. The concepts of property, markets, labor, corporations, collective and individual responsibility, economic vs. political freedom, wealth, debt, and value will be subjected to philosophical scrutiny. Philosophical investigation of these ideas will be joined to broad philosophical questions, including but not limited to: their treatment in the history of philosophy, the role of these concerns in the good life, the development of markets in the context of the emergence of modern subjectivity, the relation of desire and its production to the need for markets, and the account of what it means to be human that these concepts assume or encourage. The goal of this course is for students to have a robust understanding of the historical and contemporary arguments, assumptions and views these economic concepts presuppose about what it means to be human. Application of these considerations to contemporary debates in public life will be encouraged.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PHI-218

PPE-228 Topics in Philosophy

A course in some selected philosophical topic. Please refer to the Registrar's page for course description.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PPE-238 Topics in Political Science

The course provides opportunities for specialized, innovative material for students at an intermediate level. Students interested in political science topics beyond introductory level would benefit from this course the most. Since the content of this course varies from semester to semester, it may be repeated for credit upon the instructor's approval. Please refer to the Registrar's page for course description.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science

PPE-251 Law & Economics

An examination of the proposition that economic reasoning can explain the evolution of the law. By focusing on property, tort, and contract law, each student can decide for himself the power of economics as a driving force in the law. By its very nature interdisciplinary, this course is designed for non-majors as well as majors.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101
Credit: 1
Equated Courses: ECO-231

PPE-252 Public Policy

The purpose of this course is to use tools from Principles of Economics to study current public policy issues, and to analyze and evaluate existing and proposed policies for dealing with a variety of contemporary economic and social problems in the United States. Students will learn quantitative and qualitative skills useful for assessing public policy issues and their implementation and effectiveness. Topics may include (but are not limited to) health economics (Medicaid, Medicare, health care reform), environmental economics and policy (cap and trade policies), welfare and social services, income distribution, education, and energy economics.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: ECO-232

PPE-254 Environmental Economics

An introduction to environmental science, this course focuses on the definition and description of environmental resources, as well as management, and conservation. Includes topics on ecosystems, energy and mineral resources, population dynamics and the impact on environmental quality, water and air quality, water supply, solid waste. Analysis of the economic, social, and political interactions towards environmental management.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: ECO-234

PPE-255 Health Economics

This course is an introduction to the study of health care. While we will draw heavily on important ideas in economics, the course is interdisciplinary in nature. Basic questions to be considered include: What roles have nutrition, public health, doctors, hospitals, and drugs played in the dramatic improvement in health since 1800? What role does personal behavior (e.g., eating, smoking, and exercise) play in health? What explains the organization and evolution of the American health care system? In a world of limited resources, how should we decide what medical care ought to be foregone? What is the best way to deal with the major health challenges facing developing countries? Why has spending on health care increased so much over the past 100 years? Why does the United States spend so much more than the rest of the world on health? Why do governments intervene in health care? What kinds of reforms to the health care system might work? Non-majors are encouraged to take the course.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: ECO-235

PPE-258 Topics in Economics

The course provides opportunities for specialized, innovative material to be made available for students at the introductory level. Since the content of this course varies from semester to semester, it may be repeated for credit upon the instructor's approval. Please refer to the Registrar's page for course description.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science

PPE-264 Economic and Political Development

A brief survey of problems facing lesser-developed countries and of measures proposed and used for the advancement of political integration and the improvement of living standards and social welfare. Study will be made of the role of capital accumulation, private initiative, representative government, and other factors in economic growth and political modernization.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: ECO-224

PPE-265 History of Economic Thought

This course examines the intellectual history of economics. The ideas of great economists (including Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Keynes, Schumpeter, and Knight) are analyzed and compared. Particular emphasis is placed on differing views toward capitalism-especially predictions about its eventual fate.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: HIS-236ECO-205

PPE-329 Seminar in Philosophy

Seminar discussion at a more advanced level of a selected philosophical topic or area.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PPE-330 International Political Economy

This is an advanced course that focuses on a specific topic in international relations. Topics vary from semester to semester.
Prerequisites: Take PSC-141
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PSC-340

PPE-332 Political Development

This deeply historical course examines the emergence of the sovereign state as the predominant organizational institution in global politics, as well as the myriad institutional forms it has taken over time and around the world. Special attention will be given to the role of warfare in the consolidation of modern states, the rise of nationalism, and to factors that promoted democratization in some parts of the world, but not others. The course will also consider several enduring questions of political development, such as whether democratization, globalization, and technological progress are inevitable - or even desirable - features of modern society.
Prerequisites: Prerequisite: PSC-121, PSC-131, HIS-101 or HIS-102.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PSC-323

PPE-333 Constitutional Law

Do gay Americans have a constitutional right to get married? Should racial and ethnic minorities receive the benefits of affirmative action when applying to college or law school? Does a woman have a constitutional right to an abortion? Does the federal government have the power to regulate health care? What role should judges play in deciding such divisive and morally vexing issues? This course examines the Supreme Court's most potent power-to strike down as unconstitutional the actions of elected officials on these and other "hot button" issues. How should the Court apply such broadly worded constitutional guarantees as "equal protection" and "due process of law" to modern problems? Should the Court follow the "original intent" of our Founders or be guided by more recent, evolving standards? When the Court has wrestled with tough issues, what impact has its decisions had on other branches of government and on American society in general? This counts as an advanced course in American Politics. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PCS-313

PPE-334 Political Economy of Development

Why have some countries been able to prosper and remain at peace while others have suffered massive levels of poverty, inequality, and instability? Why haven't foreign assistance, democracy promotion, and peacekeeping efforts produced sustained growth and stability in many of these long-suffering countries, but they have done so in others? This class will examine these questions through the lens of politics. Students will learn what learn what political scientists have discovered about the logic of how countries develop political politically and economically, and how different outcomes (i.e., peace and prosperity vs. dysfunction and poverty) can result. Students will also come to understand how political leaders and the institutional environments in which they operate combine to produce these outcomes. We will also study the strengths and weaknesses of the various strategies policymakers employ, from poverty relief programs to international trade, to promote growth and stability.
Prerequisites: Take PSC-121.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PSC-324

PPE-336 American Political Thought

A broad survey of American political ideas as expressed in primary sources including classic texts, key public documents, and speeches. The course investigates themes of mission, means, and membership as recurrent issues in American political thought. This course counts as an advanced course in Political Theory.
Prerequisites: Take PSC-131, HIS-241, or HIS-242.
Credit: 1
Distribution: Behavioral Science
Equated Courses: PSC-336

PPE-358 Topics in Political Economy

This course will focus on an important topic or few topics in political economy from a largely economic perspective. One example would be a study of the determinants of economic prosperity, focusing on the role of markets, political institutions, history, and culture. Another example would be the economics of inequality, which would develop careful empirical measures various dimensions of inequality, examine the causes and consequences (beneficial and harmful) of inequality, and consider the feasibility and desirability of measures to reduce inequality. A third potential topic would be the economics of climate change, which would describe current knowledge and uncertainty about climate change, and examine the debates over how to think about the uncertain future outcomes of current policy choices. The topics may be coordinated with 300 level PPE courses from other departments.
Prerequisites: Take ECO-101 and one 200 level ECO course, OR with the consent of the instructor.
Credit: 1

PPE-400 Senior Seminar for PPE

Open only to senior PPE majors. The course continues the project of integrating the three disciplines at a higher level and culminates in a capstone project. This is both a reading and a research seminar, organized around a chosen important social issue. To insure proper integration of the disciplines and promote synthetic thinking, the course is team-taught by professors from at least two different departments. Participants discuss variety of readings on the particular chosen topic. They also prepare research papers which treat an individually chosen topic, based on the multidisciplinary PPE approach. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: Take PPE-200 and at least one 300 level PPE course, or consent of the instructor.
Credit: 1