Why PPE is the perfect degree for me
I chose to embark in a Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree because I wanted an instructions manual for the world. I consider myself a curious person, understanding the laws that dictate what goes on around me is crucial to satisfy my inquisitiveness, and what better way than to approach it with a holistic study of these three subjects? Although I will be underlining how obviously these studies complement each other, each subject must be approached by itself for me to fully communicate why I feel each is essential to my curiosity.
Philosophy has allowed me to explore the reasoning behind the most famous political philosophers’ work, on which generations of thinkers have built upon. It also gave me the tools to analyse our current political system in philosophical terms: what is it based on? What kinds of rights and duties to citizens have? How is legitimacy and authority earned or established? Because I believe these are fundamental questions to ask ourselves when trying to better our world, knowing how to pose them correctly and attempt to answer them is incredibly important. Furthermore, the philosophy department has a range of fascinating modules you can access, I’m taking ‘Applied Ethics’ in my second year and so far am enthralled to be tackling controversial and polarising subject matters in our everyday life.
While the limits of Politics and what counts as such are highly debated, no one would disagree on the life-encompassing implications it has on all our lives. I personally believe everything is political, politics never just waits outside your door when you return home: it saturates your friendships, relationships, your workplace and your own personal self. If the world is a chess-board politics is the moves. While I definitely don’t believe a degree in politics is necessary to understand and take part in our political world, having a formal education in the field does help in grounding political reality in the bigger continuum of history. Seeing how political thought has evolved is extremely interesting but also might provide some answers as to why we are today where we are today. Again I do not need to elucidate on the myriad of enthralling politics modules you may choose from, but I’ll give you a taste because you deserve it. This year I’ve opted for a 30 CAT politics optional module on the Politics of International Development, which tries to provide a wide perspective on the subject of development and most importantly returns a human quality to it that is often overlooked by developmental academics focused solely on its economics.
Economics is perhaps one of the most interesting academic subjects due to its very direct real life applications. You will not be surprised if I told you that for economics I took a Macroeconomics development course due to my obvious interest in the subject. This is a perfect example of how complementary economics and politics are: while my politics development module focuses on how best to approach ethical, moral and political issues, my EC coded module looked at the hard numbers behind development economics. How do countries grow? What causes economics growth? How do we model insistent poverty? These are all important questions, and getting into the formal theoretical explanations is quite essential, while keeping in mind that economic models are built on a myriad of assumption that don’t really hold in the real world.
I chose PPE because individually the three subjects stand alone as nuanced and engaging disciplines, but together form an outstanding tool to question, examine and judge. Economics gives concrete answers and models to explain phenomena that shape our days, and humans love having answers to their questions. Politics points out that the answers you gave yourself are not so easily applied and have wide implications you need to take into consideration. And Philosophy reminds you to reflect on both the question and the answer: on their origin, their interpretations, your methodology and their importance.