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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 course introduces key philosophical concepts for the study of politics and the economy.
Part 1 of the course focuses on the circumstances of politics, including such topics as politics itself, liberalism, democracy, and ideal theory. Part 2 focuses on the economy, including such topics as markets, capitalism, academic economics and cooperation.

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.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required and includes preparatory reading and commenting on texts.

Assessment method


  • Midterm Essay (35%)

  • Intermediate writing assignement (15%)

  • Final Essay (50%)

Further requirements:

  • class attendance requirement: students absent for more than 3 classes will not be allowed to take the final essay and will not be allowed to pass the course. This also applies to students who do not make up the reading assignments for all missed classes by the end of the teaching period;

  • students must receive at least a 5.5 for the final essay in order to pass the course.


The final mark for the course is determined by (i) the weighted average of the assigenments (see above) combined with (ii) the class attendance requirement.


Students can resit an essay assignment if they have failed the course and if they also received less than 5.5 for that essay. It is not possible to make up for the attendance requirement.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Recommended advance reading for this course:

  • Runciman, David. Politics: Ideas in Profile. Main edition. London: Profile Books, 2014.

  • Heath, Joseph. Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism. New York: Currency, 2010 (or later edition).


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.