Freedom, Markets, and Well-Being PPE Seminar 160 Fall 2016

In this course, we bring together scholarship from philosophy, politics and economics to study the philosophical underpinnings and social institutions of contemporary American society and the world in which it operates. Working across disciplinary boundaries, we examine scholarship that seeks to describe the liberties, freedoms and safeguards that promote human flourishing and that looks carefully at the roles played by market economies and political institutions in the construction of contemporary society.

One goal for the course is to prepare PPE majors to write their senior theses in the spring. Concrete work on the thesis is required at regular intervals throughout the term and the final project is a thesis prospectus. (Students from departments that do not require a thesis are invited to chat with us about a suitably modified assignment.) Another goal is to spend our sessions synthesizing work in the three disciplines of philosophy, politics, and economics. This year, our focus will be on inequality. We will ask what economists, philosophers, and political scientists have to say about inequality and how work in one area is related to that in the others.

The syllabus (PDF) has a schedule of topics for discussion, readings, and assignments; it also describes the standards for grades and other policies for the class. Registered students can find all other materials on Sakai.

Masters of Multiple Disciplines

Class picture

Eleanor Brown, Morris, Sean, Thomas, Robert, Jennifer
Martin, Jesse, Cyrus, Peter, Anthony
Spencer, Danny, Will, Ella, Maya, Michael Green
Missing: Mikayla and Marco

Class picture


  1. Tuesday, August 30. Thesis ideas
  2. Thursday, September 1. Sample Thesis
  3. Tuesday, September 6. Locke on Property
  4. Tuesday, September 6. Gibbard on Locke
  5. Tuesday, September 13. Piketty on Inequality
  6. Thursday, September 15. Corak on Mobility
  7. Tuesday, September 20. Currie on Inequality at Birth
  8. Thursday, September 22. Rawls’s Difference Principle
  9. Tuesday, September 27. Dworkin on Equality
  10. Thursday, September 29. Dworkin on Work and Equality
  11. Tuesday, October 4. Anderson on Egalitarianism
  12. Thursday, October 6. Thesis Ideas
  13. Tuesday, October 11. Thesis Ideas
  14. Thursday, October 13. Williams on Equality
  15. Thursday, October 20. The Capabilities Approach
  16. Tuesday, October 25. Capabilities and Gender
  17. Thursday, October 27. Effective Altruism
  18. Tuesday, November 1. Dworkin on Choice
  19. Thursday, November 3. Kidney Markets
  20. Tuesday, November 8. Experienced Utility
  21. Thursday, November 10. Happiness and Policy
  22. Tuesday, November 15. Nudge part 1
  23. Thursday, November 17. Nudge part 2
  24. Tuesday, November 22. Libertarians on Nudge
  25. Tuesday, November 29. Final Projects


Eleanor Brown’s office is Carnegie 216. For Fall 2016, her office hours are Wednesdays 1:30-4:30. Her department page has more information about her research and courses.

Michael Green’s office is Pearsons 207. For Fall 2016, his office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11–12 and 1–2. His home page has links to websites for his other courses.

Our email addresses and office phone numbers are available from the Pomona College directory: select Faculty/Staff and enter the name.