Philosophy and Economics

To many people, philosophy and economics may seem like unrelated subjects. But the two disciplines are deeply connected. Aristotle was not only a great philosopher; he was also one of the first economists. And Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, was a professor of moral philosophy. For hundreds of years, philosophy and economics have gone hand in hand.


This is just as true today as it was in the past. Although philosophers and economists work in different departments, and are trained in different ways, they ask many of the same questions. How can we make rational decisions? What is happiness, and how can people achieve it? How should we weigh the costs and benefits of laws, policies, and regulatory systems? What are the relative values of equality and economic efficiency, and how should we make trade-offs between them? What is the nature of justice, and is it ever permissible to act unjustly? What is the proper scope of the free market system? Are there some things that should never be for sale?


Studying either philosophy or economics can provide students with an opportunity to answer some of these questions. Studying both subjects provides students with even more: an enhanced understanding of each discipline and a greater capacity to explore answers to these and

many other questions.


Studying philosophy and economics concurrently is also an excellent career move. A double major in philosophy and economics prepares students to pursue careers in business, consulting, government, and many other areas. It can also provide excellent preparation for students who are interesting in pursuing advanced graduate degrees in business, law, public policy, public health, public administration, and a wide range of traditional academic disciplines.


            Relevant philosophy courses:

  • PHIL 2103. Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL 3103. Ethics and the Professions
  • PHIL 3113. Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 4113. Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 4123. Classical Ethical Theory
  • PHIL 4133. Contemporary Ethical Theory
  • PHIL 4143. Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 4213. Philosophy of Science


If you have questions, contact Professor Warren Herold (