In your final year, you will select modules from a variety of specialist subjects offered by the two departments - 60 credits from economics and 60 credits from philosophy, with the possibility of a dissertation in philosophy.
Advanced International Trade II
This module covers:
- Models of intra-industry trade
- Trade policy in oligopolistic industries
- Multinational Enterprises
- Testing trade theories
- The WTO and "new issues"
Advanced Mathematical Economics
The module is intended to provide an introduction to mathematical techniques used in economics. In particular, examples of economic issues that can be analysed using mathematical models will be discussed in detail.
Particular attention will be given to providing an intuitive understanding of the logic behind the formal results presented.
Economic Policy Analysis I
This module will introduce you to economic policy analysis. It will focus on the role played by different institutional rules in shaping the behaviour of elected governments by providing incentives to elected governments.
Economic Policy Analysis II
The module will cover post-crisis monetary policy; controlling money markets with excess reserves; spillovers of QE; effects of QE on asset and credit markets; low real equilibrium interest rates; uncertainty in monetary policy.
International Money and Macroeconomics
This module will provide an introduction to international monetary issues, including the determination of exchange rates and international spill-over effects.
This module focuses on a range of econometric methods used in policy evaluation and in the identification and estimation of causal effects. Topics to be covered include:
- potential outcomes framework
- regression analysis and matching
- instrumental variables
- regression discontinuity
Advanced Development Economics
This module adopts a broad focus on factors influencing growth and development, concentrating on core economic policy areas and the role of international organisations.
Topics covered include macroeconomic policies, in particular exchange rates and the role of the IMF; aid policy and the World Bank, effects of aid on growth, macroeconomic and fiscal policy, and poverty; trade policy and performance and the WTO; economic reforms and growth experiences in East Asia, China and Africa; human development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Advanced Experimental and Behavioural Economics
This module discusses aspects of some of the main sub-areas of experimental and behavioural economics. This includes applications related to individual decision-making, strategic behaviour and market behaviour.
The module encourages reflection on both the role of experiments in economics and the assumptions that economics does (and should) make about people’s motivations. Both experimental economics and behavioural economics are still comparatively new fields within the wider discipline.
The module considers their potential and main achievements, relative to more traditional economic techniques. It encourages development of critical skills and reflection on specific research contributions in experimental and behavioural economics.
Advanced Financial Economics
The module covers:
- saving, focusing on how agents make intertemporal decisions about their savings and wealth accumulation
- saving puzzles and household portfolios, focusing on credit markets and credit markets imperfections, and why do households hold different kinds of assets
- asset allocation and asset pricing, focusing on intertemporal portfolio selection, asset pricing and the equity premium puzzle
- bond markets and fixed income securities
- the term structure of interest rates
- the role of behavioural finance in explaining stock market puzzles
Advanced Industrial Economics
This module provides an advanced economic analysis of the theory of organisation of firms and industries. It will analyse a variety of market structures related to the degree of market competition with a special emphasis on imperfectly competitive markets. It will also analyse issues related to the internal organisation of firms.
Advanced Labour Economics
The module covers an economic analysis of the labour market, with an emphasis on policy implications and institutional arrangements.
This module covers:
- dynamic general equilibrium models, focusing on how the time path of consumption, and saving, is determined by optimising agents and firms that interact on competitive markets
- growth in dynamic general equilibrium, focusing on the Solow model and the data, and the role played by accumulation of knowledge (endogenous innovation) in explaining long run growth
- Real Business Cycles (RBC), focusing on how the RBC approach accounts for business cycle fluctuations, and what links short run fluctuations and growth processes
The module will cover topics in advanced microeconomics and decision theory. The precise content may vary from year to year, but the module will start from the basis established by the Microeconomic Theory module.
Advanced Monetary Economics
This module provides a rigorous introduction to formal models of money in the macroeconomy. Following this, applications for areas of central banking, finance and international macroeconomics will be explored.
Advanced Political Economy
The module will cover the following:
- The rational political individual?
- Voter participation
- Collective action and the role of the state
Core political economy
- The economic approach to politics
- Political aspects of economics: rights and the limits of the state
- Political aspects of economics: inequality and the duties of the state
Political economy in action
- Political economy in action: some current issues in applied political economy
Advanced Public Economics
The module will introduce some major themes of the economic analysis of government. Using the tools of modern microeconomic theory, it will explore how government institutions are designed, how they could be designed better, and how they shape economic policy.
This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will investigate the syntax and semantics of various logics, including first order logic, modal logics, and three-valued logics, as well as ways to apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics such as possibility and necessity, vagueness, and the Liar paradox.
We’ll cover ways to reason and construct proofs using the logics we study, and also ways to reason about them. We’ll look at proofs regarding the limits of formal logic, including proofs of soundness, completeness, and decidability.
Advanced Philosophy of Mind
The philosophy of mind addresses philosophical questions about the mind and aspects of the mind: mental or psychological states and capacities. Advanced topics in the philosophy of mind will focus on a specific area (or areas) of the philosophy of mind.
Which specific area (or areas) of philosophy of mind is in focus may vary from year to year. So the topics for this area of philosophy of mind may include:
- the nature of perception
- the nature of perceptual consciousness
- the directness or indirectness of perception
- the perception-knowledge link
- what properties or kinds perception can present
- issues about the senses
- specific issues about vision and audition
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics
This module is a discussion of some philosophical problems pertaining to art. Topics could include definitions of art, the objectivity versus the subjectivity of aesthetic evaluations, emotional response to art, the ontological status of artworks, and Walton's theory of make-believe.
This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current views on the status of aesthetic evaluations, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks.
The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions.
These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness (the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence).
This module will teach you how to communicate philosophy through a variety of different mediums, assessing them in each. We will look at how philosophy can be communicated through legal documentation, press releases, handouts, lesson plans, webpages, funding bids and posters (with optional presentations).
A number of the sessions will be delivered by professionals from outside the University, with support from the module convener. Seminars will be used to develop each of the items for assessment. You will be invited to draw upon your prior philosophical learning to generate your assessments, except in the case of handout where you will be set a specific philosophical task and asked to complete some (very basic) independent research.
Dissertation in Philosophy
The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to write an 8,000-word dissertation on a philosophical topic, the precise subject of which is by agreement with the supervisor. At the completion of the module, you will have had an opportunity to work independently, though with the advice of a supervisor.
Environmental ethics addresses the issue of how human beings should interact with the non-human natural world. This module will cover a range of topics from contemporary philosophical literature on environmental ethics.
Representative topics include:
- the scope of moral concern (ie whether and how our moral theory should concern itself with animals, plants, rocks, ecosystems)
- whether nature is intrinsically valuable, or whether it possesses value only by being valuable to us
- whether it is reasonable to search for just one overarching ‘environmental ethic’ (ie the debate between monism and pluralism in ethics)
- the metaphysics, ethics and politics of the ‘deep ecology’ movement; whether there is any connection between the twin oppressions of women and nature (as ecofeminists claim)
- the ethics of zoos
- the nature of sustainability
- ethical issues relating to climate change
- the ethics of restoring nature after it has been damaged by human development
- whether there are any distinct environmental virtues
Free Will and Action
This module involves the study of a set of related issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. Questions to be discussed are likely to include all or most of the following:
- What would it take for an action to be free (or an exercise of ‘free will’) in a sense that would make it an action for which we are morally responsible?
- Is there is any way in which our actions could be free in the relevant sense, whether or not determinism is true?
- How do actions differ from bodily movements that are not actions?
- Actions are typically (perhaps always) done for reasons, but what exactly is the relation between the reasons and the actions?
- Do the reasons cause the corresponding actions – and if they do, can this be the same kind of causation as is involved in ordinary ‘mechanistic’ causal explanation?
- And what about the fact that at least some of our actions seem to have purely physical causes?
- If they do, doesn’t this make any ‘mental causes’ of those actions redundant?
- What is the connection between intentional or voluntary action and rational action?
- In particular, it seems that we sometimes intentionally and voluntarily do things that we ourselves regard as irrational – but how is such ‘weakness of will’ possible?
Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy
Politics and truth have always had a complicated relationship. Lies, bullshit, spin, and propaganda are nothing new. But we have allegedly entered the era of 'post-truth' politics in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the facts. Moreover, polarization is on the rise in many democracies and political disagreements have spread to disputes about obvious matters of fact.
In this module, we will attempt to answer questions such as:
- Should the existence of widespread disagreement in politics make us less confident in our own views?
- Are voters morally or epistemically obligated to vote responsibly?
- Is it rational for citizens to base their political views on group identity rather than reasoned arguments?
- Should we have beliefs about complex policy questions about which we are not experts?
- Is democracy the best form of government for getting at the truth?
Language, Metaphysics and Metametaphysics
Typically, this module introduces you to some advanced topics in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The module focuses on important topics, which have received recent attention. The topics covered will include:
- metaphysical nihilism (why there is something rather than nothing, and the subtraction argument)
- causation (the counterfactual theory and other accounts)
- the metaphysics of grounding (and concerns with such a notion)
- the metaphysics of absolute and relational space and time
- vagueness and indeterminacy
The module presupposes a certain basic familiarity with general issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, but is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to new topics that is completely accessible to the uninitiated.
You will be introduced to the thought of Karl Marx thematically via texts selected from the Marx canon. Marxian themes considered will include:
- The Materialist Conception of History
- The Labour Theory of Value
Gaining an overview of Marx's attempt to synthesise German philosophy, French political theory, and British economics will be an important objective for the course.
Philosophy and Mortality
The module explores philosophical issues related to human mortality – illness, ageing, death and dying, and other dimensions of our embodied vulnerability. Typical topics might include:
- the phenomenology of chronic somatic illness
- psychiatry and mental health
- the oppression of ill persons
- the nature and practice of pathography (narrative accounts of the lived experience of illness)
- the social experiences of ill persons
- the moral and spiritual significance of illness and ageing
- the experience of dying
- empathy, grief, and mourning
- death and the meaning of life
- the significance of human mortality to wider philosophical issues and concerns
By the end of the module, you should be able to identify and articulate the ethical and existential significance of various experiences of human mortality; to employ a range of different methods and approaches to understanding those experiences; and to think sensitively and humanely about human experiences of ageing, illness, and dying.
Philosophy of Criminal Law
There is perhaps no more vivid example of the exercise of state power over individuals than through the institution of criminal law. The criminal law raises a host of important philosophical questions, such as these:
- Is there a general obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the basis for this obligation?
- What sorts of acts should be criminalised, and why?
- What does it mean for someone to be responsible for a crime, or for the state to hold someone responsible?
- What is the proper role for the presumption of innocence: Who must presume whom to be innocent of what? Is criminal punishment justified? If so, why?
- Is the state ever justified in imposing legal restrictions on offenders even after they have completed their punishment?
- How should the criminal law function in the international context?
Readings will include seminal works by historical figures such as Plato, Bentham, and Kant, as well as prominent work by more contemporary philosophers such as Hart, Hampton, Duff, and others. All reading assignments for this module are accessible to students with no training in criminal law.
Philosophy of Education
Education plays a fundamental part of all our lives. It shapes who we are, our value systems, our political and religious outlooks etc. This means it changes how society looks, how it operates, and what we think society ought to be like. Education is then of the most profound importance.
As philosophers we are uniquely placed to think long and hard about education: what its role is, what it role should be, who gets to decide what is taught etc. Rising to this challenge this module creates the space, and provides the tools, for you to do just this.
Philosophy of Recreation
We expect recompense when we work but appear to do recreational activities just for their own sake.
You'll use philosophical tools to examine the meaning and value of such recreational activities, exploring questions such as:
- Is recreational sex and drug consumption merely about pleasurable sensations?
- Why do we put such great effort into achieving seemingly arbitrary goals in sport?
- Does it make sense for fans to feel elated if they played no part in a team’s success?
- Is there something special about being in a zone of effortless attention whilst playing an instrument?
- Could risking death seeking sensations of the sublime by climbing a mountain be better than safely siting on your sofa watching trash tv?
Philosophy of Sex
This module considers the conceptual, moral, political, and metaphysical issues raised by sexual activity. It also considers philosophical questions arising from the experience of groups considered sexual and gender minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.
- the nature of sexual desire
- sexual consent
- sexual objectification
- sexual orientation
- trans and intersex experiences
You will be encouraged to explore the relationships between these topics and to consider their application to debates and practices outside of philosophy.
Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics
One often hears the opinion that ethics is subjective. But what does this mean, exactly?
And one often hears the view that ethics is relative. But relative to what?
And what is ‘ethics’ anyway?
And if ethics is subjective, or relative, what does that mean for ethics as a discipline? Does it mean, for example, that our ethical pronouncements can never be incorrect, never be challenged, or never disagreed with?
This module addresses these and other questions about the foundations of ethics, and gives students the material to develop their own views of this peculiarly human phenomenon.
Taking Utilitarianism Seriously
This module is an extended discussion of utilitarian approaches to moral and political philosophy, including utilitarian accounts of:
- the nature of wellbeing
- reasons and rightness
- rights and justice
- individual decision-making
- praise and blame