Blick in die Lernzone beim D3 Gebäude.

Philosophy: Logic and Ethics

This specialization is open for BBE students from the winter term 2020/21 onwards.
Schwarzer Strich

a. What are the main topics of the specialization Philosophy: Logic and Ethics?

Course I

In course I we will at first look at different conceptions of “confirmation” in the 20th century and the various questions and problems, which arise, if principles such as “verifiability” and “falsifiability” are applied. We will read and discuss Rudolf Carnap's account of a „prognosis“, as singular sentence inferred from a hypothesis, Logical Empiricists’ understanding of evidence and verifiability, Karl Popper’s original conception of falsifiability and his later as well as Imre Lakatos' view of falsification and of the infamous problem of „the empirical basis“. A brief overview of 21st century accounts in the philosophy of science will be provided at the end of part one of this course: Bas van Fraassen‘s „constructive empiricism“ and accounts in the tradition of Peter Lipton‘s „instrumentalism“.     

         The second part of this course will be concerned with “applied philosophy of science”. „How are ‘cause’, ‘laws’, ‘explanation’, ‘prognosis’, ‘confirmation understood in the science of economics?”, i.e. is and should economics be a science which formulates laws, uses the concept of cause, should invoke verifiability or falsifiability as method of confirmation or instrumentalism and operationalism as alternative?

Course II

Course II offers an introduction into moral philosophy. It is designed around objections to the possibility of justifying criteria of moral action. We will begin with Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics”, move on to Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals”, and will then look at John Stuart Mill’s criticism of Kant’s approach in “Utilitarianism” and his own reasoning for what could count as acting morally right. The questions we will pursue will be: (1) Can eudaimonia, i.e. “well being”, be regarded as final end of all our actions? (2) Does Aristotle’s reference to human nature – as foundation of “what one ought to do” involve a circular justification of moral principles? (3) Is it possible to deduce criteria for assessing the rightness of an action from the formulae of the categorical imperative alone? (4) Is the ide of the “greatest happiness of the greatest number” a promising criterion for the construction of ethical principles? (5) Does rule- utilitarianism avoid the problems of action-utilitarianism? As in course I there will be an applied part.

b. How to get in?

Enrollment is possible in the winter terms only from winter 2020/21 on. Unlike 20 ECTS specializations, 10 ECTS specializations do not have an “access to” course to enroll in. The courses (in this case, both the courses I and II) can be chosen from a drop-down menu in LPIS (the course registration application). Please note that 10 ECTS specializations can be combined with the 10 ECTS “specialization abroad”.

c. List of the courses

This specialization consists of two courses:

  • Course I - Philosophy: Logic and Ethics (5 ECTS)

  • Course II - Philosophy: Logic and Ethics (5 ECTS)

d. Which prospects can graduates of the specialization expect upon completion?

There are specialized Master’s programs in Philosophy and Economics at leading universities in the UK (LSE, Oxford, Cambridge), Switzerland (UZH, St. Gallen), Germany (LMU Munich, Bayreuth) and other universities in Austria offer Philosophy and Economics Master programs, too (University of Vienna, Paris-Lodron University in Salzburg for example).


For more information please contact us by email.

ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil Gabriele M. Mras

ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil Gabriele M. Mras

Institute for Economic and Social History / Philosophy Division