Question: What do Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Fraser all have in common? Well, besides the fact they’re all former prime ministers of Australia, the three of them studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) before becoming household names.
In celebration of UWA launching a new Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree, we asked Philosophy lecturer Dr Lachlan Umbers why those interested in our ever-evolving society should think about study in this area.
“All of the most interesting social problems have philosophical, political and economic dimensions to them – global warming, inequality, political participation, criminal justice, and so on,” Dr Umbers says.
"If we want to understand them and maybe, more importantly, do something about them, it's crucial to have a good working knowledge of all three disciplines."
Dr Umbers adds it’s not just former prime ministers who’ve studied PPE but many other prominent people who’ve had a major impact on our world. We’re talking Nobel Prize winners like Malala Yousafzai. Study in PPE could lead you down any number of paths – it’s not just for those wanting to lead our country one day.
So why put these three subjects together? According to Dr Umbers, it’s the best possible training for someone interested in issues that touch on various aspects of life.
“PPE affords students a uniquely well-rounded, interdisciplinary perspective on the world,” he says.
“You’ll study everything from the philosophical foundations of the liberal political order, to the politics and economics of climate change.”
Plus, you’ll learn how to take the insights gained from one discipline and apply it to the other two – helping you solve problems and think about issues in a more considered, creative way.
Right now UWA is the only university in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in PPE. The course has been carefully designed to give you a solid foundation in the three areas and help you develop invaluable analytical and critical thinking skills that are highly valued by employers.
Be guided by supportive teachers who are interdisciplinary researchers themselves, and surround yourself with others who seek to answer global challenges of the future.