Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


The scientific study of economics and politics raises fascinating philosophical questions. This unit examines several such questions – interrogating the foundations, theory, and practice of economics and political science. Topics may include: differing conceptions of human welfare and the possibility of interpersonal welfare comparisons, the role of values in the assessment of social institutions, the possibility of ‘laws' of economics and political science, individual rationality and its relation to political and economic phenomena, social norms and their role in economics and politics, causal mechanisms in economics and political science, and the social science and morality of significant social institutions – e.g. elections, taxation, and trade.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) identify the major issues in the philosophy of economics and political science; (2) explain the relationship between the foundations, theory, and practice of the economics and political science and important philosophical issues; (3) interpret complex philosophical and social-scientific texts; (4) contrast competing philosophical positions with respect to major questions in economics and political science; and (5) reason in a constructive and cooperative way about polarising economic and political issues.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class assessment; (2) essay; and (3) exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Lachlan Umbers
Unit rules
Any level 1 PHIL unit,
or any level 1 POLS unit,
or any level 1 ECON unit.
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.