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 Reading Group: Spring 2018

This semester, the PPE Reading Group will discuss Jeremy Waldron’s (NYU) book The Harm in Hate Speech (books provided). The PPE Reading Group will meet every other week during the spring semester on Tuesday 5-7pm at 215 Major Williams Hall. Enjoy free pizza and soft drinks with our discussion!

Participation is open to any interested student (whether already a PPE student or interested in becoming one), and capped at 10 participants. Sign up by January 26th (to receive your book in time to read) with Gil Hersch ( The first meeting will be on Tuesday, January 30th.

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.

Two Postdoctoral Fellowships in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Virginia Tech, housed in the Department of Philosophy, seeks two Postdoctoral Fellows in any area of PPE, however with a strong preference for the philosophy of the social sciences (in particular the philosophy of economics) and/or the history of moral, political, and economic thought.

The successful candidates will have a promising interdisciplinary research agenda that allows collaboration with the program’s core faculty. The Fellows are expected to teach one course per semester and participate actively in the PPE Program. A Ph.D. in Philosophy (or closely related fields) is required at the time of appointment. The initial appointments are made for one year, but the positions are renewable for up to three years (depending on funding and satisfactory performance). The starting date for the positions is August 10, 2017, pending final budgetary approval.

Qualified applicants must electronically submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement, teaching portfolio, writing sample, and three references with e-mail addresses to: Apply to posting #SR0160263. Applicant screening will begin on May 18, 2017, and continue until the positions are filled. Information about the PPE Program can be found here: Inquiries about the positions should be directed to Professor Michael Moehler, Search Committee Chair, Virginia Tech is committed to building a culturally diverse faculty and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, or veteran status; or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees, or applicants; or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Accessibility at 540-231-2010 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061. If you are an individual with a disability and desire accommodation please contact the hiring department or contact University ADA Services with any questions.

PPE Student Ambassadorships for 2017-2018

Each academic year, the PPE Program selects up to three undergraduate students to serve as ambassadors for the program. The primary tasks of the student 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.

The application process for next year’s PPE Student Ambassadorships is now open. Any student who is enrolled for the PPE Minor (or will enroll for the PPE Minor) is eligible to apply. Please submit (i) a short personal statement that explains your interest in becoming a PPE Student Ambassador and (ii) your resume, which includes your academic credentials and extracurricular activities. The application materials must be submitted to Professor Moehler ( by April 10, 2017.

For additional questions, please contact Professor Moehler in the Department of Philosophy at Virginia Tech. We look forward to receiving your applications.