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Politics and Economy: Philosophical Foundations


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to MA students in Philosophy 60 EC, specialisation Philosophical Perspectives on Politics and the Economy.


This core seminar introduces key philosophical concepts for the study of politics and economics.
Part 1 of the course focuses on the circumstances of politics, including such topics as justice, rights, freedoms, ideal theory and moral realism. Part 2 focuses on economics, including such topics as the distinction between facts and values, economic methodology, rationality, and social norms.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide theoretical resources to complement the other courses you will be taking in the 3PE programme.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • key philosophical concepts relevant to politics and the economy, and also to some extent their relationships to each other and to wider intellectual, political and social developments.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the concepts studied and the role they play in (the background of) academic and policy debates;

  • apply these concepts in an original argumentative way to identify and address real world problems;

  • present such analysis orally and in writing in an appropriate academic style.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required and includes preparatory reading and small written assignments

Assessment method


  • Midterm essay (50%)

  • Final essay (50%)

  • Academic skills assignment. Graded: Fail (0.5 deducted from final grade); Pass (no effect on final grade); or Good (0.5 added to final grade)


The final mark for the course is determined by (i) the weighted average of the two essays combined with (ii) the class attendance requirement, and iii) any addition/deduction for the academic skills assignment.


Students can resit either essay assignment if their overall grade for the entire course is 5 or less. It is not possible to make up for the attendance requirement.

One resit will be offered, covering the entire course content, and consisting of an essay. The grade will replace previously earned grades for subtests. No separate resits will be offered for midterm or final tests.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examinations cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Students will have an opportunity to discuss the grading of their essays with the instructor.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number, which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. T.R. Wells


Not applicable.