BAEcon Economics and Philosophy

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Morality and Markets

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI30112
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit aims to:
- Examine moral arguments relating to the functioning of markets;
- Consider the different ways in which the use of markets may, in general terms, be justified or criticised;
- Introduce students to a range of normative perspectives on the operation and appropriate extent of markets, and demonstrate how such ideas are deployed in political debate;
- Provide a detailed assessment of a number of specifically troubling areas of exchange;
- Develop students' philosophical reasoning abilities, ability to apply philosophical ideas, team-work skills and research abilities, oral and written skills.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:
- An understanding of the main moral justifications and lines of critique of market exchange;
- The ability to critically assess normative arguments relating to market institutions;
- The ability to apply abstract philosophical arguments to real-world questions about the functioning of markets;
- An understanding of how moral claims are used in political debate to justify or critique real-world markets;
- Oral, teamwork, written, and research skills.

Teaching and learning methods

This course will be taught on the basis of ten two-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars. The lectures will comprise a mix of traditional lecture material, interactive question and answer sessions, and small tasks in break-out groups. Seminars will involve group discussions, consideration of particular case-studies and collaborative analysis of arguments. All students will be expected to have completed the required reading and to have made preparatory notes.

Assessment methods

70% essay (3000 words),

30% written assessment (1000 words)

Recommended reading

' Anderson, E., 1992, Values in Ethics and Economics, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Cohen, G. A., 2009, Why Not Socialism?, Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.
- Hayek, F.A. v., 1944, The Road to Serfdom, London: Routledge.
- Olsaretti, S., 2004, Liberty, Desert and the Market: A Philosophical Study, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Nozick, R., 1974, Anarchy, State, And Utopia, New York: Basic Books.
- Sandel, M. J., 2012, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, London: Allen Lane.
- Satz, D., 2010, Why Some Things Should not be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 200

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Hood Unit coordinator

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