Workshop in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Workshop in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics was established to broaden students' understanding of ideas central to individual liberty, economic growth, and technological innovation. 

If you have suggestions for future events, questions, or would like to learn more, contact Marta Podemska-Mikluch

Fall 2016 Events

Guest Lecture: Entrepreneurs and the New Moral Leadership by prof. Stephen Hicks - philosophy professor at Rockford University

Date: Monday, October 31st, 2016
Location: Beck Hall 101
Time:  4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.mStephen R.C. Hicks

We live in entrepreneurial times. The business leaders who shape our increasingly globalized economy—and who can respond creatively to its changing demands—must have not only technical abilities but entrepreneurial character. In this talk, philosopher professor Stephen Hicks will discuss how virtues of character are essential to (1) personal success in one's career, (2) leadership in one's firm, and (3) being a citizen in an open society. For a short paper introducing the topic, check here.

Stephen Hicks is a Canadian-American philosopher who teaches at Rockford University, where he also directs the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of three books: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy Publishing, 2004; Expanded Edition, 2011). Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham's Razor, 2010). The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (co-edited with David Kelley, W. W. Norton & Co., 1994, second edition 1998). His writings have been translated into fourteen languages: Portuguese, Spanish, German, Korean, Persian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Swedish, Hindi, Russian, Ukrainian, Cantonese, French, and Arabic. He has published in academic journals such as Business Ethics Quarterly, Teaching Philosophy, and Review of Metaphysics, as well as other publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Baltimore Sun.  In 2010, he won his university's Excellence in Teaching Award. He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washngton, D.C., a Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, and Senior Fellow at The Objectivist Center in New York. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Guelph, Canada, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Indiana University, Bloomington. More information about Dr. Hicks's courses, publications, and blog can be found at his website: 


Spring 2016 Events

Guest Lecture: Capitalism and the Family by prof. Steve Horwitz of Saint Lawrnce University

Date: Thursday, April 21st, 2016Steve Horwitz
Location: Beck Hall 101
Time:  4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m
Horwitz argues that the enhanced freedom with respect to family choices that has characterized the modern family and that is celebrated by those on the political left, is largely a product of the economic system, market capitalism, that they often reject. At the same time, those on the right who are troubled by these changes in the family, including the demand for same-sex marriage, need to realize that such cultural changes are an inevitable by-product of the economic freedom they claim to celebrate. Horwitz argues that it is capitalism that is the main driver of the evolution of the western family and that the wider array of family structures that characterizes the 21st century represents an increased cultural freedom brought on by the freedom to engage in capitalist acts between consenting adults.

Spring 2015 Events

Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015
Location: Beck Hall 101
Time:  4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m
What is the connection between economic freedom and human well-being? Professor Josh Hall will examine this issue in his lecture. Professor Hall is an associate professor of economics at West Virginia University. His areas of interest include applied microeconomics, with an emphasis on economic freedom, state and local public finance and entrepreneurship. In addition to being the author of more than 50 articles in journals such as Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Public Administration, Research, and Theory, Contemporary Economic Policy, and Southern Economic Journal, he is co-author of the widely-cited Economic Freedom of the World annual report. Short article about the event can be found here

Screening: Poverty, Inc. Fighting poverty is big business. But who profits the most?
Followed by a Q&A with Mark Weber (co-producer)Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
Location: Wallenberg Auditorium, Nobel Hall
Time: 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of the development narrative. But the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and developing world leaders have become increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing on perspectives gathered from over 150 interviews shot over 4 years in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. explores the hidden side of doing good. From disaster relief to TOMs Shoes, from adoptions to agricultural subsidies, Poverty, Inc. follows the butterfly effect of our most well-intentioned efforts and pulls back the curtain on the poverty industrial complex - the multi-billion dollar market of NGOs, multilateral agencies, and for-profit aid contractors. Are we catalyzing development or are we propagating a system in which the poor stay poor while the rich get hipper? 

Screening: Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives PBS Documentary
Date: Monday, April 20th, 2015
Time: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Beck Hall 101

This one-hour documentary examines the impact of increased economic freedom on the lives of ordinary people. The filmmakers traveled to countries as diverse as Chile and Zambia to profile entrepreneurs benefiting from increased economic freedom. The documentary highlights the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index and features interviews with the report's authors, including Josh Hall, who will give a guest lecture on May 4th.

Fall 2014 Events

Screening: Good Bye, Lenin
Date: Monday, December 8th, 2014
Time: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Beck Hall 101

A humorous look at the economic transition in the former GDR: A dedicated young German boy pulls off an elaborate scheme to keep his mother in good health in this comedy drama from director Wolfgang Becker. Suffering a heart attack and falling into a coma after seeing her son arrested during a protest, Alex's (Daniel Brühl) socialist mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass), remains comatose through the fall of the Berlin wall and the German Democratic Republic. Knowing that the slightest shock could prove fatal upon his mother's awakening, Alex strives to keep the fall of the GDR a secret for as long as possible. Keeping their apartment firmly rooted in the past, Alex's scheme works for a while, but it's not long before his mother is feeling better and ready to get up and around again."



Guest Lecture: You're So Money: Literary and Economic Seductions by Sara Skwire of Liberty Fund
Date: Thursday, October 23rd
Time: 5 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Beck Hall 101

Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice has led many to believe that the early modern world had an unrelievedly negative view of money-lending and an unsophisticated view of economics. But The Merchant of Venice is only part of the story about Shakespeare's views on exchange and commerce. Reading his love sonnets and putting them into the context of other early modern seduction poems shows us a much more complicated--and even enthusiastically positive--image of early modern thinking about economics. Through erotic punning and word play, Shakespeare and his contemporaries invite us into a world where pleasure is a profit and profit is a pleasure.

Sarah Skwire is a Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation and the author of the college writing textbook, Writing with a Thesis, which is in its 12th edition. Sarah has published a range of academic articles on subjects from Shakespeare to zombies and the broken window fallacy, and her work has appeared in journals as varied as Literature and Medicine, The George Herbert Journal, and The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She writes a regular column, Book Value, for the Freeman Online and blogs at Bleeding Heart Libertarians. Sarah's work on literature and economics has also appeared in the Freeman and in Cato Unbound, and she is an occasional lecturer for IHS, SFL, and other organizations. Her poetry has appeared, among other places, in Standpoint, The New Criterion, and The Vocabula Review. She graduated with honors in English from Wesleyan University, and earned a MA and PhD in English from the University of Chicago.