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About the Philosophy, Politics & Economics programme

The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) programme was originally developed at Oxford and is now available around the globe.  The University of Otago PPE programme is the only one in New Zealand.

Our programme is run jointly by the departments of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. It includes a foundation in the classic texts of the human sciences, engagement with the best new ideas about society, and analysis of present-day policy challenges. Each disciplinary area informs the others: financial markets, for example, are regulated by more or less democratic states, whose policies are in turn grounded on a variety of often conflicting ethical, social, and economic principles.

Today's policy challenges are more complicated than ever, and PPE's interdisciplinary course of study prepares students to meet them.

Why is the hedgehog featured in our banner?

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

The writer Isaiah Berlin quotes this ancient saying to draw a contrast between two kinds of intellectual style. In some of our work in PPE, we are like foxes – we use many tools to work on a range of problems. At other times, we are like hedgehogs – we use a single powerful lens to illuminate most of human experience.

Read more about the hedgehog