Philosophy & Economics

Meine Studienangebote >> Veranstaltung anzeigen

Hier können Sie die Daten dieser Veranstaltung
im Intranet der Fachgruppe Philosophie sehen.

Veranstaltungstitel Preferences and Welfare in Economics
Kennzeichen 50337
Veranstaltungsart Blockseminar
Fachgruppe Philosophie
Semester Sommer 2020
Dozent(en) Lukas Beck
Empfehlung(en) Studiensemester 4. Semester (P&E Bachelor)
Bereich(e) V3: Verzahnungsseminar I


Preferences are one of the most fundamental concepts in economics. Therefore, it is quite surprising that one finds no explicit definition of preferences in economics textbooks. The absence of such a definition is especially puzzling because different conceptions of preferences would have different implications on what kinds of explanations economics can offer, how economics relates to its neighboring disciplines (e.g., psychology and neuroscience), and to what extent it can inform welfare judgments. Because of this lacuna, philosophers of science have recently started a heated debate about preferences in economics which lies at the heart of this course. The course will be divided into two units.

The first unit will explore the nature of preferences in economics. While some authors hold that preferences should be understood as patterns in choice behavior, others identify them with mental states. We will investigate how these answers bear on urgent debates within the philosophy of social science. For example, if preferences are mental states, does this mean that economics needs a robust injection of psychological theory and methods?

Equipped with knowledge about the nature of preferences, we will turn to the practical issue of how preferences relate to welfare in the second unit. To what extent are a person's preferences a good guide to her wellbeing? How do we address the problem of adaptive preference? When should people’s testimony about preferences be taken at face value, and when should it be examined critically? Do we need to "purify" or "launder" preferences? 


Starting on 1 March 2020, you can apply for the seminar by sending an Email to

Use the subject line "Preferences Seminar June 2020 - Application - [Last Name, First Name]." 

In the email, include your program of study, semester in the program, and student ID number. The application deadline is 7 March 2020, 11:59 pm (CEST).

I will inform you of the outcome of your application by 14 March.

Erfordernisse zum Punkteerwerb

Course Requirements: student presentation during class (20%), class participation (15%), and writing an original research paper after the conclusion of the seminar (65%).

Zugehörige Termine
von - bis Ort  
Fri. 12.06.2020 S 5 (GW II)
Sat. 13.06.2020 S 5 (GW II)
Sun. 14.06.2020 S 5 (GW II)