PPE in Practice III: Governance for Society

  • Period 3.
  • Mandatory course.


The second PPE in Practice course is a problems-based course that encourages students to draw interdisciplinary connections between the individual PPE disciplines. PiP II will address emerging 21st century problems related to the relationship between citizens, state leaders, and the rest of the world. The course will be coordinated by VU faculty who will work together with guest practitioners and guest academics to consider the following three questions:

  • Is a universal basic income economically feasible? Or would an earned income tax credit system be preferable? How would these redistributive systems affect employment? Are these proposals morally desirable and politically achievable?
  • Was a lack of regulation responsible for the 2008 subprime crisis? Who is responsible: borrowers, lenders, the government? Would the introduction of new regulation in the finance industry prevent similar events in the future?
  • What policies, international regulations and governance mechanisms provide the best response to climate change? Who will pay for the costs of mitigating climate change? Do we take into account the effects on future generations and what are their rights?

Similar to the other PiP courses, PiP II will combine lectures and seminars over a period of three weeks. Each week one question will be addressed. The lectures will provide students with a strong background in the moral, political and economic theories necessary to identify and understand the key issues pertinent to each question. Because PiP II is a problem-based course, seminars are structured around small group discussions. Lecturers will provide question prompts for the seminars and students will be encourage to bring their own questions and solution proposals to the seminars. The emphasis of the problem-based seminars is on argument formation. Students will learn to produce strong arguments for policy positions, and to identify flaws in weak arguments. The seminars are also intended to give students an environment in which they can develop ideas for the course essay.


After completing the course, students will have gained:

An understanding of

  • Key problems and arguments surrounding issues of global governance
  • The way interdisciplinary approaches can help solve these problems
  • The working relationship between academic theorists and practical policy makers

The skills to

  • Identify an argument’s structure, and to criticize and strengthen its weak points
  • Present their original research in verbal and written forms
  • Use peer input to modify and improve their arguments

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