Classes taught since 2011
Ethics and Economics of Wealth Creation (University of Arizona)
An interdisciplinary introduction to Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) focusing on the nature of wealth; the basic mechanisms by which humans create wealth, such as exchange, coordination, competition, and discovery; the fragility of those mechanisms, the things that allow them to function—such as secure property rights and sound governance—and the things that obstruct them; and the economic and ethical dangers of exploitation and other potential threats to human dignity that may arise in the course of creating wealth.
Topics include: opportunity cost; gains from trade; economies of scale; comparative advantage; the price system; entrepreneurship; creative destruction; wage fairness; price fairness; public choice theory; property rights, inequality; Marxism.
Philosophy of Happiness (University of Arizona)
This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to foundational research on the nature of happiness in Philosophy, and to issues of philosophical significance in the study of happiness in Psychology, Economics, and Behavioral Economics.
Topics include: philosophical theories of happiness as the good life, sensory or attitudinal pleasure, positive affective states, and desire satisfaction; the psychology of subjective well-being and potential implications for social policy; behavioral economics; the relation of income to happiness; happiness and public policy.
Ancient Philosophy (University of Arizona)
Greek Philosophy (University of Melbourne)
This introduction to ancient Greek philosophy surveys theories of knowledge, reality, and value, concentrating on Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, and Epicureanism, with some coverage of other ancient thinkers as well.
Topics include: fate, freedom, and responsibility; the relation of reason and emotion; knowledge, belief, and skepticism; the nature of reality; the nature of the good life; society and the state.
Economic Freedom (University of Arizona)
This course examines the nature of market society and the philosophical foundations of its implicit commitment to individual liberty and individual responsibility. The course focuses on what people can do when they are free to create and trade, what makes it possible for them to have that freedom, and what it takes for people to be responsible in their exercise of that freedom.
Topics include: the nature of wealth and wealth creation; emergent orders; positive externalities and public goods; negative externalities and social cost; market failure and government failure; ownership; rule of law.
The Ethical Marketplace (University of Arizona)
This course explores some of the shapes that human society takes when people pursue and dovetail their various plans by making voluntary exchanges with willing others. It focuses on the basic social institutions of voluntary exchange, especially the ownership of private property and the allocation of resources and labor through prices and wages; the social practices that either help or hinder these institutions as part of a cooperative venture for mutual benefit; and what it takes to act decently and responsibly while engaging in voluntary exchange.
Topics include: opportunity costs; gains from exchange; the dangers of consumerism; the moral bases of exchange; emergent orders; risk, uncertainty, and discovery; prices; profits; exploitation; economic inequality; common pool resource management; property institutions; public goods; social cost; market competition; the place of incentives in non-market public action.
Economic Concepts for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (Seoul National University)
This course explores some of the differences that creating wealth can make for human existence, the basic mechanisms by which people create wealth, the social practices that make it either easier or harder for people to create wealth, and what it takes to act decently and responsibly while engaged in creating wealth.
Topics include: opportunity cost; exchange; division of labor; transaction costs; entrepreneurship; emergent order and prices; competition; rule of law; the tragedy of the commons; property rights and protections; externalities and market failure; public choice; market fairness; inequality and mobility.
Graduate Seminar in Virtue Theory (University of Arizona)
This seminar explores some major contemporary challenges to virtue theory as an approach to character, moral development, and action, and in particular the prospects of meeting these challenges by a non-ideal theory of virtue, particularly within an Aristotelian framework.
Topics include: ideals and ideal theory; aspiration and improvement; psychological approaches to moral development and skill acquisition; empirical challenges to traits and personality theory; the nature and development of practical intelligence.
Graduate Seminar in Ancient Philosophy (University of Arizona)
This seminar explores a fundamental issue in all ancient ethics: the relation of virtue to happiness. As Cicero reports in his history of ancient ethics (de Finibus V), the central issue there was the nature of the good that is well-being. More specifically, the main questions were (1) whether human excellence is any part of well-being, and (2) what role other goods like health or wealth might play in well-being, if any. But why would anyone take (1) seriously? And why would anyone even wonder about (2)?
Topics include: concepts and conceptions of happiness in Greek philosophy; the nature of eudaimonia; the relation of virtue to eudaimonia; the place of other goods within eudaimonia; competing theories of virtue and eudaimonia.