• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Harold Brennan
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

The approach taken in this specific course is at two levels. One level involves direct conceptual analysis of the differences in disciplinary approaches. The other involves illustrating those differences by reference to specific examples in contemporary policy/institutional analysis. Topics like global warming (and environmental issues more generally); discounting the future; dealing with risk and uncertainty; the ‘global financial crisis’; public debt; population etc. will be used to examine and contrast what philosophers and economists have said about the issues and attempt an intellectually respectable synthesis. In each case, the role of ‘political elements’ will be an important part of the story - both substantively, in terms of what the expected role of political institutions might be and what political constraints may be relevant; and conceptually, in terms of the different understanding of political process that philosophers and economists tend to have.

Wherever possible, the aim will be to take issues dealt with in other courses in the PPE program and use the analysis undertaken there to investigate the relation between the disciplines and the areas they represent. In that sense the aim will be less to involve additional readings, but to induce students to reflect on material already familiar in an explicitly ‘other-disciplinary’ mode. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course you should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms, concepts and ideas in the study of PPE
  2. Demonstrate an ability to think about and discuss puzzles in the social sciences.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to apply the skills learned on the course to new areas.
  4. Prepare materials on a topic relevant to PPE and present them in a focused manner to the group
  5. Think, write and argue about issues demonstrating a full understanding of the issue.

Indicative Assessment

    Formative assessment will be conducted by giving the students some of the problems we have studied and they will be asked to describe them andpotential solutions midway through the course.

    Marked presentation (10%) (LO 1-2, 4) For group presentations those involved in the presentation will mark each others contribution and individual marks will be assigned weighted by those marks

    Examination 90% (LO 1-3, 5) The examination is sit down

    The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


    All students will be expected to prepare for each seminar having read the set reading for that session. Each session a group will present the problem or puzzle to be addressed and all students will be expected to join in the discussion. The contact will be equivalent to two hours per session (12 sessions) over the semester. Students will be expected to spend eight hours per session on average preparing for seminars and preparing their presentation.

    Requisite and Incompatibility

    To enrol in this course you must have completed: ECON2101; 12 Units of Philosophy (PHIL) Courses; 12 Units of Political Science (POLS) Courses; and consent of the course convenor.

    You will need to contact the School of Philosophy to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

    Prescribed Texts

    Weekly reading to support the tutorials and lectures will be made available electronically via the Wattle site. Some additional reading will be helpful in stimulating thinking along inter-disciplinary lines, including: 

    Brams, Steven J. and Taylor. Aland D. 1996. Fair Division: From Cake-Cuttinto Dispute Resolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Dowding, Keith. 2009. "What is Welfare and How Can We Measure It." Pp.511-539 in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics, edited by H.

    Kincaid and D. Ross. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Grofman, Bernard, Guillermo Owen, and Scott A. Feld. 1983. "Thirteen Theorems in Search of the Truth." Theory and Decision 15:261-278.

    List, Christian and Philip Pettit. 2002. "Aggregating Sets of Judgements: AnImpossibility Result." Economics and Philosophy 18:89-110.

    Nurmi, Hannu. 1999. Voting Paradoxes and How to Deal with Them. Berlin:Springer-Verlag.

    Olson, Mancur. 1965/1971. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

    Parfit, Derek. 1984. Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Riker, William H. and Peter C. Ordeshook. 1968. "A Theory of the Calculus of Voting." American Political Science Review 62:25-43.


    Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

    If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

    Student Contribution Band:
    Unit value:
    6 units

    If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

    Units EFTSL
    6.00 0.12500
    Domestic fee paying students
    Year Fee
    2015 $2604
    International fee paying students
    Year Fee
    2015 $3576
    Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

    Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

    ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

    The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
    Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

    Second Semester

    Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
    2862 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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