Meeting of the Minds
UAB has been offering a course on behavioral economics since 2006, says Erik Angner, Ph.D., an assistant professor in both the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution, and Economics.. But students interested in the brave new world of economic theory don’t have to stop there. The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business jointly offer an interdisciplinary concentration called Philosophy and Political Economy, which roams the intellectual borders of economics, philosophy, and political theory.
Several UAB faculty members specialize in the philosophy of economics, giving the university one of the largest concentrations of expertise in the country. Angner is currently in the process of writing a book on behavioral economics with Carnegie Mellon University’s George Loewenstein, Ph.D., who is considered one of the pioneers of the field.
Angner, who holds doctorates both in philosophy of science and in economics, says the combination is a natural. Economists are seeking to update their models with a more precise understanding of the inner workings of the human mind, he says—and that is precisely the specialty of philosophers. “They have explored what it means to be rational for two and a half thousand years.”