VT News: New Major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Anticipation, adrenaline, confidence, hope, and a touch of anxiety fill the waiting room. A dozen well-educated college graduates wait for an interview at a major Wall Street firm. But one candidate stands out among the intense competition, showcasing high-level critical thinking that arrives at solutions that are not only economically sound, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed.

A new interdisciplinary major at Virginia Tech prepares undergraduates for this post-graduation scenario. The philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) major is a collaborative degree between the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Department of Economics in the College of Science.

“The PPE major attracts driven students in the humanities and social sciences who have a genuine interest in working across disciplines and a desire to…

To read more, please follow this link: VT News Story.

PPE Undergraduate Student Ambassadorships

Each academic year, the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics selects several undergraduate students to serve as ambassadors for the program. The PPE Undergraduate Student Ambassadorships offer a unique leadership and network opportunity for undergraduate students at Virginia Tech.

The primary tasks of the ambassadors are to (i) promote the PPE Program at Virginia Tech, (ii) work closely with the PPE Program Director as well as with the program’s faculty and staff, and (iii) serve as a student contact for PPE events, such as the PPE Speaker Series and the PPE Distinguished Public Lecture. For more information about PPE events, please follow this link.

The application process for next year’s PPE Undergraduate Student Ambassadorships is open now. Any student who is enrolled (or will enroll) for the PPE Minor or PPE Major is eligible to apply. Please submit (i) a short personal statement that explains your interest in becoming a PPE Undergraduate Student Ambassador and (ii) your resume. The application materials must be submitted to Professor Moehler (moehler@nullvt.edu) by April 12, 2018. We look forward to receiving your application.

PPE Publication: Minimal Morality

Michael Moehler, Director of the PPE Program at Virginia Tech, recently published a book at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics.

The book includes discussion of the relationship between morality and self-interest, utility theory, rational choice theory, social and economic productivity, distributive justice, the welfare state, and global justice. In the book, Professor Moehler applies formal methods to moral and political philosophy and develops a new type of social contract theory that aims to ensure mutually beneficial peaceful long-term cooperation in deeply morally pluralistic societies.

Here is more information about the book.

New Major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

The PPE Program, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Economics, launched a new Major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

The PPE Major allows students to study systematically some of the most important social, ethical, economic, and political problems that our contemporary societies face. It offers a highly interdisciplinary curriculum with distinct learning outcomes centered on an undergraduate research project. For more information, please see here. Enroll now!

On February 15, 2018, the PPE Program will hold for students and faculty a PPE Major Launch Information session. The event takes place in the Major Williams Atrium from 11:30am-1:30pm. Please join. Free pizza and soft drinks!

PPE Speaker Series: Spring 2018

In the context of the PPE Speaker Series, this semester the PPE Program will host three guest speakers who will present their most recent work to faculty, students, and the general public. Fabian Wendt (Chapman University) will address the topic of unfair compromises, Marion Fourcade (University of California Berkeley) will speak about the digital economy, and Catherine Herfeld (University of Zurich) will discuss the epistemic potentials and limitations of rational choice theory in philosophy and the social sciences. Professor Herfeld’s talk is co-sponsored by the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience at Virginia Tech.

SGA Policy Grant Award

Thomas Rowe (PPE Program), Adam Dominiak (Economics), Sudipta Sarangi (Economics), and Michael Moehler (Philosophy) have been awarded a Policy Strategic Growth Area Planning Grant for the project “Ethical Decision-Making Under Ambiguity.”

The grant will be used primarily to fund an experimental study that will be conducted in the Virginia Tech Economics Laboratory. The experimental study will invoke a unique combination of methods from economics and philosophy: it will borrow techniques from economics for establishing how individuals act in scenarios where there is a lack of probabilistic information, with methods from philosophy for establishing the fairness of different alternatives.

PPE Publications

Gil Hersch recently published a journal article on the relationship between happiness, income, and well-being policy. Here is a link to the article. Michael Moehler recently published a journal article on productivist welfare state capitalism. Here is a link to the article.

Gil Hersch and Thomas Rowe Join the PPE Program at Virginia Tech

The PPE Program welcomes two postdoctoral fellows with research expertise at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics: Gil Hersch, who received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego, will join us from George Mason University, and Thomas Rowe will join us from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Please feel free to reach out to both postdoctoral fellows to welcome them to Virginia Tech and potentially to establish research collaborations with them.