Thomas Wells

Thesis title
Reasoning about Human Development

prof. Jack Vromen and prof. Ingrid Robeyns

Project description
Over the last few decades, the economist-philosopher Amartya Sen has been refining a ‘Capability Approach’ for human development that emphasises the achievement of the kind of lives people have reason to value. Such a life is a combination of intrinsically valuable ‘beings and doings’ (such as being sufficiently nourished), together with the actual capabilities to achieve them (such as being able to buy nutritious food). My thesis attempts to develop the philosophical character of this project, focussing on its ethical and political components.

My background is in philosophy at the University of Durham in the UK (BA & MA) but I was drawn to the field of philosophy and economics by the unique MA programme here at Erasmus.

Research interests
Ethics, political philosophy, rationality, development, economic methodology.

Personal website:

About EIPE

Although researchers with a serious interest in economic methodology are scattered around the world, there is only one Ph.D. program in the field, at Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Not surprisingly, this institute has attracted an outstanding faculty; and it regularly hosts as visitors all the leading figures in the field. It is a very special place which I regularly recommend to students interested in graduate studies in economic methodology.
Daniel Hausman
Herbert A. Simon and Hilldale Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison