2302.22 - Philosophy of Economics

Course number
Philosophy of Economics
Students are expected to have attended the preceeding five semesters of the bachelor’s programme in economics
The aim of the course is to introduce the foundation of economics as a science in practice. A foundational premise is that models are what makes economics a science, and economic models accordingly play a significant role in the curriculum • How are models used in economics? • Which are the crucial preconditions in the models? • Should preconditions reflect reality? • How do we choose between models?
Utility plays a central role in economics and accordingly the course will include ethics and morality in relation to the concept of utility. During the course these topics will be covered: • Use and misuse of economics • The role of models in economics • Models and theories in economics • Methodological issues • The significance of ethics and morality • Equity and efficiency • The Pareto principle and cost-benefit analysis • Limitations for the power of the market • Fairness in economics
Learning and teaching approaches
Lectures, conversation and student presentations of homework
Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to Knowledge • Present his/her knowledge aquired at the course • Idendify, explain and discuss explanations, models and theories in economics • Present the ideas of the Logical Positivists, Karl Popper, Lakatos and Kuhn Skills • Discuss use and misuse of mathematics in economics • Explain the central preconditions in economic models • Explain and assess the traditional methodologies in economics • Explain the difference between models and theories • Discuss the quality and validity of popular ctiticism of economics • Discuss if economics is a science • Explain and discuss the significance of ethics and morality in economics • Identify normative motives in economic arguments • Discuss fairness in economics • Discuss the definition of economic science and its boundaries Competences • Present his/her competences to validate economics in practice and as a science, based on the topics studied at the course
Assessment method
Oral exam with preparation time
Marking scale
• Julian Reiss, Philosophy of Economics. A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge, 2013 • Dani Rodrik, Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. Oxford University Press, 2015 • Miscellaneous articles to be announced during the course
Hans Ellefsen