Programme overview

Research Master in Philosophy and Economics

Learning objectives

The Research Master in Philosophy and Economics aims to prepare students for a career in academia and provide unique qualifications in reasoning and independent thinking relevant for leadership and advisory roles in the private and public sector.

Mode of education

You follow seminars where teachers engage in a direct exchange of ideas with students and give immediate feedback on their class participation and written assignments. You actively participate in the bi-weekly PhD-seminars. All students are appointed an academic advisor to discuss their plans and performance in the programme on a regular basis.


The research master in Philosophy and Economics comprises a demanding programme that introduces students from a variety of backgrounds to all key aspects of the philosophy of economics. It prepares for PhD study in philosophy, but also economics as well as roles in the private and public sector.

The curriculum is research-led, with mandatory courses being taught by resident and visiting professors from the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE). The curriculum of 120 EC is divided as follows:

  1. Mandatory courses in the philosophy of economics (55 EC)
    The mandatory courses give a firm grounding in the core areas of philosophy of economics.

  2. Elective courses in philosophy (20 EC)
    Students can take elective courses in philosophy from a large variety of courses, such as those offered in the MA Philosophy, and courses offered at the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW).
  3. Research in the philosophy of economics (45 EC)
    The research master benefits from the unique research environment offered by the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE). Research master students are trained in interdisciplinary research skills in the following modules.

Academic calendar

  • Block 1: week 36 – 45
  • No classes: week 46 
  • Block 2: week 47 – 5
  • Block 3: week 6 – 15
  • No classes: week 16 
  • Block 4 = 17 – 26.

Before entering the programme, it is compulsory for every student to read at least two books from the following selection:

One introductory textbook on philosophy of economics:

  • Julian Reiss, Philosophy of Economics – A Contemporary Introduction. London/New York: Routledge, 2013.

In addition to the book above, at least one of the following books:

  • Anna Alexandrova, A Philosophy of Science for Wellbeing, Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Ruth Grant, Strings Attached: Untangling the Ethics of Incentives, 2011.
  • Francesco Guala, The Methodology of Experimental Economics. Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Michael D. Resnik, Choices: An Introduction to Decision Theory. University of Minnesota Press, 2003.
  • Dani Rodrik, Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. New York: W.W.Norton, 2015.

Naturally, you are encouraged to read more than two books from the above, and also to read any books from the below list.

Introductory Workshop

We will hold an introductory workshop with the staff and students from EIPE at the start of September at which new students will give presentations that are based on a part of one of the above books by Alexandrova, Grant, Guala, Resnik, or Rodrik.

Your presentation at the Introductory Workshop

Your task for this presentation is the following: After reading (at least) one of the books by Alexandrova, Grant, Guala, Resnik, or Rodrik in its entirety, you select a part from one of it. In your presentation, you briefly present the argument that is given in that part and evaluate it critically. The part you select should be at least a couple of pages and at most two chapters. Make sure that the part you select contains a substantial argument (i.e., the introductory chapters of any of those books will not lend themselves to this task). You will have about 5 mins for this presentation. Details will be arranged closer to the Introductory Workshop.

Further preparatory reading

Apart from the required preparatory reading, you are strongly advised to read as much as you can from the below literature, depending on your background and interests.

General Introductions to Philosophy of Economics

Introductions to Philosophy

  • Cartwright, Nancy and Montuschi, Eleonora (eds) (2014) “Philosophy of Social Science: A new Introduction”, Oxford University Press.
  • Glymour, Clark (1997). “Thinking Things Through: an Introduction to Philosophical Issues and Achievements”, MIT University Presse.
  • Godfrey Smith, Peter (2003). “Theory and Reality”, University of Chicago Press.
  • Griffin, James (1996). “Value Judgement: Improving our Ethical Beliefs”, Clarendon Press.
  • Ladyman, James (2002). “Understanding Philosophy of Science”, Routledge.
  • LePore, Ernest (2000). “Meaning and Argument”, (revised edition 2003), Basil Blackwell.

Introductions to Economics

  • Gujurati, Damodar N. and Dawn C. Porter (1999). "Essentials of Econometrics", Mac Graw Hill.
  • Coyle, Diane (ed) (2012). “What’s the Use of Economics? Teaching the Dismal Science after the Crisis”. London Publishing Partnership
  • Hargreaves Heap, et al (1992). “The Theory of Choice: A Critical Guide”, Basil Blackwell.
  • John Quiggin (2019). “Economics in Two Lessons”, Princeton University Press.
  • Samuelson, Paul and Nordhaus, William (1985). “Economics”, (latest edition 2010), McGraw Hill.
  • Schelling, Thomas (1978). “Micromotives and Macrobehavior”, Norton.
  • The Core Team (2017). “The Economy, Economics for a Changing World”, Oxford University Press. Open Access Version:
  • Yonay, Yuval P. (1998). “The Struggle over the Soul of Economics”, Princeton University Press.

Writing, Methods, and Formal Methods

  • Hacking, Ian (2001). “An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic”, Cambridge University Press.
  • Martinich, Aloysius P. (2005). “Philosophical Writing: An Introduction”, (3rd edition), Basil Blackwell.
  • Papineau, David (2012). “Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Sets”, Oxford University Press.
  • Steinhart, Eric (2009). “More Precisely: The Math You Need to Do Philosophy”, Broadview Press.

Philosophy of Economics

  • Adler, Matthew, D. (2019). “Measuring Social Welfare: an Introduction”, Oxford University Press.
  • Broome, John. (1995). “Weighing Goods: Equality, Uncertainty and Time”, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Bowles, Samuel (2016). “The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives are no Substitute for Good Citizens”, Yale University Press.
  • Bicchieri, Cristina (2017). “Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norm”, Oxford University Press.
  • Fleurbaey, Marc and Blanchet, Didier (2013). “Beyond GDP: Measuring Welfare and Assessing Sustainability”, Oxford University Press.
  • Hausman, Dan (2011). “Preference, Value, Choice and Welfare”, Cambridge University Press.
  • Posner, Eric and Glen Weyl (2018). “Radical Markets – Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society”, Princeton University Press.
  • Satz, Debra (2015). “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of the Market”. Oxford University Press.
  • Sugden, Robert (2018). “The Community of Advantage: A Behavioural Economists Books Defence of the Free Market”, Oxford University Press.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. (2016). “The Ethics of Influence: Government in the Age of Behavioral Science”. Cambridge University Press.
  • Vromen, Jack (1995). “Economic Evolution. An Enquiry into the Foundations of 'New Institutional Economic”'. London/New York: Routledge.

Philosophy of Economics: Bedtime readings

  • Backhouse, Roger E. (2002). “The Penguin History of Economics”, Penguin Books.
  • Heilbroner, Robert L. (2000). “The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers”, Penguin Books.
  • Levitt, Steven B. and Stephen J. Dubner (2005). “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything”, HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Rodrik, Dani (2015). “Economics Rules”, New York: Norton & Company.
  • Thaler, Richard H and Cass R. Sunstein (2008). “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”, Penguin Books Ltd..

Courses - Research Master in Philosophy and Economics

1. Mandatory courses in the philosophy of economics (55 EC)

Course code: FW-REMA01
Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course code: FW-REMA02
Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course code: FW-REMA03
Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course code: FW-REMA013
Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course code: FW-REMA017
Student workload: 3,75 EC


Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course ID: FW-REMA018

Student workload: 3.75 EC 

You can choose two from the following courses:

  • Social Choice Theory and Political Representation (5 EC) FW-MA0007;
  • Welfare and Cooperation (5 EC) FW-MA0018;
  • Justice in the Economics and Politics of Wealth (5 EC) FW-MA0021;
  • Capitalism and Freedom (5 EC) FW-MA0020.

2. Elective courses in philosophy (20 EC)

Students can take elective courses in philosophy from a large variety of courses, such as those offered in the MA Philosophy, and courses offered at the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW).

3. Research in the philosophy of economics (45 EC)

Course code: FW-REMA10
Student workload: 3,75 EC

Course code: FW-REMA11
Student workload: 7,5 EC

Course code: FW-REMA12
Student workload: 3,75 EC

Student workload: 30 EC

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