PPE COURSE OFFERINGS (SPRING 2016)
Classes that may be of Interest:
PSYC 275 Political Psychology (Tetlock)
PPE COURSE OFFERINGS (FALL 2015)
The following are the set of courses which originate in PPE or are cross-listed by PPE. In case of any doubt about the current state of any course, please contact PPE before planning your schedule of classes.
Note: These are only the classes crosslisted with or run by PPE. Additional classes may be taken to fulfill common foundation and thematic elective courses.
New Class that may be of Interest:
LAW 992-401 Ethics, National Security and the Rule of Law (Finkelstein) Theme
This full year seminar will meet every other week for a full year, allowing students to develop a publishable seminar paper on an interdisciplinary topic relating to the ethical or legal status of an aspect of national security policy. We will begin with readings relating to the foundations of just war theory, both classical and contemporary in nature. We will then address a number of topics relating to current debates in national security policy, such as the legitimacy and legality of recent surveillance practices, the ethics of leaks, defense strategies such as the expanding use of drone warfare, the implications of new weaponry such as autonomous weapons systems and other robotic-based technologies, the current extent and nature of classification practices and debates about transparency and secrecy in government, the threat of novel forms of war such as cyberwar, biological warfare, the nature of the Presidential war-making power, the role of the other branches in government in participating in war-related decisions, and related themes. In addition to preparing a seminar-length paper for publication, students will engage in teams with the work of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), participating in its two major conferences during the 2015-16 academic year. Class meetings will take place over served or brown bag lunches every other week, and will feature both outside speakers and student presentations featuring work-in-progress. Students will have an opportunity to advance their knowledge of current debates in national security as well as develop their professional writing skills through close consultation with the instructor and other students, as well as by interacting with invited guests on topics of common interest. Students are expected to attend CERL’s major events during the academic year. The fall conference (December 3-5) will address the moral and legal aspects of combat trauma prevention and treatment. The spring conference (April 14 – 16) will address the ethics of negotiation, focusing on negotiations in a national security context, such as the nuclear weapons reduction negotiations with Iran, the morality and legality of negotiating with hostage-takers, and the legitimacy of negotiating with unlawful combatant groups in asymmetrical warfare. Students will receive three credits; 1.5 credits in the fall and 1.5 credits in the spring. Writing credit offered for qualifying papers. Undergraduates by permission of instructor only.
PPE 008 (PHIL 008) The Social Contract (Noah)
This course examines the history and significance of social contract doctrine for modern social and political thought. In particular, the works of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, J.J. Rousseau, and John Rawls will be studied. We also study the utilitarian critique of social contract doctrine and the utilitarian views of David Hume, Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, and Karl Marx's criticism of liberal-democratic justice. This
course is an introduction to many of the major figures in modern political philosophy.
PPE 073 (PHIL 073) Ethics and the Environment (Santana)
In this course, we examine the philosophical underpinnings of environmentalism by considering important cases such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and non-human animal welfare. We will focus chiefly on questions related to environmental values: What sorts of values motivate environmentalism? Who or what is the source of those values? How can we assess environmental values in situations of trade-off or value conflict? We will look for answers to the questions in tradittional ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics as well as from environment-specific theoretical frameworks, such as conservation biology, eco-feminism, eco-theology and environmental economics. Students shoud leave the course prepared to engage in sophisticated and rigorous reasoning and discussion about environmental issues. No prior experience with philosophy is assumed.
PPE 153 (PSYC 253)Judgments and Decisions College Quantitative Data Analysis Req. (Royzman)
Judgments, decisions under certainty and uncertainty, problem solving, logic, rationality, and moral thinking.
PPE 201 (ECON 13) (formerly PPE 113): Strategic Reasoning Offered in Fall (Dillenberger)
Prerequisite(s): Econ 1
This course is about strategically interdependent decisions. In such situations, the outcome of your actions depends also on the actions of others. When making your choice, you have to think what the others will choose, who in turn are thinking what you will be choosing, and so on. Game Theory offers several concepts and insights for understanding such situations, and for making better strategic choices. This course will introduce and develop some basic ideas from game theory, using illustrations, applications, and cases drawn from business, economics, politics, sports, and even fiction and movies. Some interactive games will be played in class. There will be little formal theory, and the only pre-requisites are some high-school algebra and having taken Econ 1. However, general numeracy (facility interpreting and doing numerical graphs, tables, and arithmetic calculations) is very important. This course will also be accepted by the Economics department as an Econ course, to be counted toward the Minor in Economics (or as an Econ elective).
Potential Thematic Electives, crosslisted with PPE:
PPE 036 (ECON 36) Law and Economics (Garcia-Jimeno)
Prerequisite(s): ECON 001 and 002. Credit cannot be received for both ECON 036 and 234.
The relationship of economic principles to law and the use of economic analysis to study legal problems. Topics will include: property rights and intellectual property; analysis of antitrust and economic analysis of legal decision making.
PPE 062 (RUSS 189) Soviet and Post-Soviet Economy (Vekker)
All readings and lectures in English
The course will cover the development and operation of the Soviet centrally planned economy--one of the grandest social experiments of the 20th century. We will review the mechanisms of plan creation, the push for the collectivization and further development of Soviet agriculture, the role of the Soviet educational system and the performance of labor markets (including forced labor camps--GULags). We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet system and the causes of its collapse. Privatization, called by some "piratization," will be one of the central issues in our consideration of the transition from central planning to a market economy in the early 1990s. Even though our main focus will be on the Soviet economy and post-Soviet transition, we will occasionally look back in time to the tsarist era and even further back to find evidence to help explain Soviet/Russian economic development.
Prerequisite(s): An introductory course in Computer Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Philosophy or Psychology.
How do minds work? This course surveys a wide range of answers to this question from disciplines ranging from philosophy to neuroscience. The course devotes special attention to the use of simple computational and mathematical models. Topics include perception, learning, memory, decision making, emotion and consciousness.
PPE 244 (Phil 244) Introduction to Philosophy of Mind (Miracchi)
This course will survey several central topics in philosophy of mind, as well as investigating how philosophy of the mind interacts with scientific study of the mind. Among the questions we'll be asking are: What is it to have a mind? What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Can there be a science of the mind? What can it tell us? What can philosophy contribute to a science of the mind? What is consciousness? What is it to think, to perceive, to act? How are perception, thought, and action related to one another? .
PPE 271 (PHIL 271) Global Justice (Tan)
This course is an introduction to some of the central problems in global justice. Some of the topics that we will examine include realism, human rights, sovereignty and intervention economic justice, and war and morality. We will look at questions such as: Is it coherent to talk about global justice, or is the global arena essentially a Hobbesian state of nature? In what sense are human rights universal? Is the idea of universal rights compatible with the political sovereignty of states? What is the basis of this duty? What is a just war? What is terrorism, and what are the moral limits in combating terrorism? Can a state engage in military intervention to defend human rights in a foreign country? Readings will be draw from contemporary authors such as Rawls, Walzer, and Sen, as well as historical figures like Kant and Hobbes. This course examines some of the common problems in global justice. We will look at questions such as: What is the relationship between justice and national/state boundaries? Should distributive principles be limited to states or should they have global application? What is a just war? What is the difference between war and terrorism? Do states have the right (or even duty) to intervene in another state to protect basic human rights? What are human rights? Are they universal, or should they be limited by cultural considerations?
By Permit or Approval:
290 Topics applicable for Choice and Behavior Theme taken outside Penn
291 Topics applicable for Distributive Justice Theme taken outside Penn
292 Topics applicable for Globalization Theme taken outside Penn
293 Topics applicable for Public Policy and Governance Theme taken outside Penn
294 Topics applicable for Ethics and Professions Theme taken outside Penn
298 Study Abroad
299 Independent Study
Student arranges with a faculty member to pursue a program of reading and writing on a suitable topic.
301 Directed Honors Research
Open only to senior majors in PPE
Student arranges with a faculty member to do an honors thesis on a suitable topic.
PPE 475-202 Public Choice and Public Policy (Sontuoso)
This course applies Public Choice theory to the analysis of contemporary policy issues: while maintaining an interdisciplinary nature, it aims at providing an introduction to the analytical tools of economics as applied to the study of current issues in political science. Each class will begin with a survey of some positive theoretical framework(s), including the foundations of the rational choice theory, approaches to the aggregation of preferences, strategic behavior, voting methods, accounts of cooperation, collective action, public goods, and institutions. The last part of each class will then critically apply theoretical knowledge to relevant contemporary policy issues, including current debates on governmental decision-making processes in the US and EU, lobbying in democracies, international security, state capacity and implementation, greenhouse gas reduction, etc. Note: part of the program contains a theoretical (formal) component.
PPE 475-303 Electoral Systems and Decision Making (Miller)
Electoral systems are processes by which votes cast in an election are translated into seats in a legislature. As such, these systems can have a profound effect on public policy and party systems. This course examines majoritarian, proportional, and mixed electoral systems in terms of how these institutions translate votes into seats and can incentivize strategic or genuine choices by voters when casting a ballot. Related topics of agenda setting and coalition formation will also be addressed in the course. We'll start with an overview of the mechanics of these systems and then turn to classic political questions of party competition, resource allocation, and interest representation as they relate to how these systems operate in a comparative context.
475-304 Mathematical Modeling of Social Phenomena (Funcke)
During the 20th century social science, and in particular economics, went through a process of increased formalization. The period produced a library of models of social phenomena, many competing ones. In this course we will briefly browse the library, with the intention to explore classical theoretical perspectives of what is a better model and ponder how increased normalization affects the social sciences. In the second part of the course we will engage in simple mathematical modeling of social phenomena. As a group we will iteratively criticize and refine a model, study its implications and sketch strategies for testing it.
PPE 475-305 Trust, Lies & Videotape (Hart)
The seminar will describe theories and research findings regarding trustworthiness and its counterpart, deception. We will discuss signals that may convey cooperative and deceptive intentions, and people's ability to detect them in different situations and paradigms. Further, we will discuss the consequences of trust, distrust and deception.
Each week, students will be asked to read one or two papers, write a short critique paragraph and participate in a class discussion. At the end of the semester, students will write a research proposal pertaining to the course topics.
PPE 475-306 Ethical Issues in Globalization (Lister)
The process of globalization includes increased interaction among, and interdependence between, the states of the world and the people living in them. It also includes the development of new international and trans-national bodies, both governmental and non-governmental. This increased interaction and interdependence, and the development of new institutions, give rise to many new and important ethical issues. These will be among the most important issues for the 21st century. In this class we will consider such questions as fairness in the international economy (including trade and labor standards); international labor migration and “brain drain”; duties to promote development in less-developed countries; whether and when the debt burdens of less-developed or burdened countries should be forgiven; and how we might address shared burdens relating to the environment. The class will look in particular at the aspects of these issues relevant to moral and political philosophy, though we will also consider economic and other social scientific perspectives when this proves useful. The seminar will be based on reading and discussion [not lecture!] of a number of recent important texts on these issues. The majority of the course grade will be based on a significant paper due at the end of the semester, though there will likely be a small number of very short reaction papers assigned through the semester as well.
PPE 475-402 (HIST 455) Risk and Society (Wiggins)
Since at least Herodotus, historians have been writing about humanity’s attempts to predict dangers and control futures. But while a concern for the future and strategies to mitigate accidents have existed for much of recorded time, the concept of risk is a relatively young construction, emerging only in early modernity. In this course, we investigate the concept of the risk in order to understand how it became a central organizing force in the modern period—perhaps even the defining characteristic of modernity—and, importantly, how it came to be seen as manageable. In the course’s first unit, we read the foundational materials of the theory of the “risk society”—Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens’ early work. Then, in unit 2, move to selections from historians of knowledge who trace the epistemic shifts that developed modern concepts of risk and eventually opened the possibility for its management through the use of statistical probabilities. While the most critical developments in the conception of risk took place in Europe across the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, unit 3 moves across the Atlantic to investigate the ways in which risk and, especially the desire to mitigate it, shaped the United States. In this unit (our largest of the course), we will see how risk assessment and management grew into the largest business in the world. Here, we will look at statistics, actuarial science, insurance, speculation, and financial capital. Along the way, we will see many instances in which categories of identity—race, class, gender, sexuality, ability—are tied deeply into the business of discriminating risk. Finally, the concluding unit reassesses the concept of the risk society through the recent past and possible futures as it considers catastrophic threats that remain pressing—nuclear war, chemical waste, genetic engineering, global climate change, and systemic financial collapse.
*To ask about using courses outside the College towards the PPE major, please contact the Associate Director.