Skip to main content

Principles of Political Economy: Philosophy & Politics (PH338-15)


This module runs in the Autumn Term and is worth 15 CATS


This Module is only available to final year PPE students.

Philosophy deals with what’s possible; politics with what’s practical. However, can we really get a handle on either of these areas without thinking about the other? Many of the contemporary problems we face require detailed reflection on both topics and how they relate - for instance, how can we evaluate the effectiveness of a political institution without understanding what it should be for? This year we will explore how the two disciplines can complement one another by looking closely at the interconnected topics of climate change and migration.

The ongoing anthropogenic changes to our environment raise many philosophical and political questions: who should pay the costs of climate change, and how? How do we distribute those costs fairly across individuals separated in space and time? The changes to the environment will also lead to increasing climate change refugees: up to 200 million by mid-century (according to some estimates). Do these individuals have a right to migrate? Do states have a right to exclude migrants? Understanding these issues requires combining your understanding of politics with the tools of philosophy. By the end of this module you will have a firm understanding of a set of contemporary political problems and how thinking them through philosophically deepens our understanding.


By the end of the module you will be able to: Comprehend and critically analyse complex arguments from the literature of contemporary political theory, moral philosophy and political philosophy; Provide an account of your considered judgements about the issues discussed, taking account of a variety opposing arguments and perspectives; Think rigorously and independently about the relevant issues; Construct your own sustained argument about the issues covered, using arguments from other disciplines where appropriate; Apply themes from the course to topical social and political issues and current news coverage to develop philosophically informed political positions.


In this module students attend a 2 hour of lectures per week, beginning in week 1, and a 1 hour seminar, beginning in week 2.

Lectures for 2017-18
  • Thursdays 5 - 7 pm in L4
Seminars for 2017-18

Seminars for this course start in week 2

There will be no seminars in reading week (week 6)

Please sign up for a seminar group using tabula.


This module is formally assessed in the following ways:

  • 15% 1500-word assessed essay
  • 85% Examination (2 hour in Term 3)


Course materials for the 2017/18 year can now be found on Moodle.


Please be aware that these materials may not be relevant to the current version of this module; they are intended primarily for students who took the module in other years.


Module Tutors:

 Kirk Surgener

Kirk Surgener
K dot A dot Surgener at warwick dot ac dot uk

Simon Caney

Simon Caney
S dot Caney at warwick dot ac dot uk