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PHIL 209


An introductory course to a systematic field of philosophy, history, philosophical movement, or set of philosophical problems. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Marcia McKelligan

209A: Tps:Ethics Bowl

Erik Wielenberg

209B: Tps:Human Nature and Free Market Capitalism

Traditional economics seems to assume that human beings have generally stable preferences, that we are well-off to the extent that those preferences are satisfied, and that we always act so as to maximize the satisfaction of our preferences. Behavioral economists argue that this is an inaccurate (or at least incomplete) view of human nature. We will first briefly examine the origins and (some of the) central principles of traditional economics. We will then consider some of the ways that, according to behavioral economists, traditional economics rests on a mistaken view of human nature. Finally, we will draw on ideas from behavioral economics to explore some important ways in which the free market and human nature interact, including: (1) the on-going "obesity epidemic", (2) the impact of American-style free market capitalism on families and children, (3) the rise of "bullshit jobs".