PHIL 89.002 – FYS: Special Topics

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Instructor: Dan Shahar. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in HN 112.

First Year Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

It is easy to take modern civilization for granted, but it is an incredible achievement. Virtually all of us are wealthier, healthier, safer, and better-educated than our ancestors. And we can expect our children to be even better-off still. How has this been possible? How can our societies continue to improve? This seminar will draw on powerful insights and techniques from the fields of philosophy, politics, and economics to seek answers to these questions. In this seminar, you will examine how property rights, markets, and political action combine to create flourishing civilizations. You will grapple with thorny issues like environmental degradation, distributive justice, and economic exploitation. And you will gain valuable analytical tools from rational choice theory, utility theory, game theory, and public choice economics—as well as critical communication and independent study skills that will serve you throughout your college career.