It is my pleasure to introduce you to Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). I have always found any strict division of the academic world into separate disciplines problematic, in particular because real-world problems often do not coincide with the artificial boundaries of academic disciplines. Questions concerning market regulations, taxation, responsibilities of for-profit and non-profit organizations, environmental sustainability, poverty, and global justice are all multidimensional, and especially have social, ethical, political, and economic dimensions that can be addressed adequately only by comprehensive analyses.
The PPE Program at Virginia Tech, in the form of an interdisciplinary minor, trains students to engage in such analyses. It trains students to make decisions that are not only economically sound but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. Compared to other PPE Programs, the PPE Program at Virginia Tech is unique in that it integrates disciplines not only in the humanities and social sciences, but also in the fields of business, engineering, urban affairs and planning, geography, agricultural and applied economics, fish and wildlife conservation, and forest resources and environmental conservation.
In addition to the PPE Minor, the PPE Program at Virginia Tech offers a Public Speaker Series. Each academic year, up to six guest speakers will present their most recent work to PPE students and faculty as well as to the public. The PPE Speaker Series allows students to develop their academic and professional skills as well as to be exposed to cutting-edge research. Moreover, the PPE Program hosts annually a Distinguished Public Lecture that aims to foster dialogue among students, faculty, and the general public about core problems that our contemporary societies face. Finally, the PPE Program provides students with the opportunity to work as ambassadors for the program. The PPE Student Ambassadorship helps students to develop leadership and professional skills as well as to gain a unique networking experience at Virginia Tech.
Historically, Virginia Tech is a significant place to have a PPE Program due to the groundbreaking work that Nobel Prize Laureate James Buchanan – a former University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Economics at Virginia Tech – has accomplished in this field. The PPE Program builds upon this tradition with the goal to educate students to become reflective and engaged citizens who, informed by the latest research, will be equipped to address the complex problems of tomorrow’s world.
PPE Program Director
Department of Philosophy