Politics, Philosophy & Economics Personal Statement

The interaction between philosophy, politics and economics is fundamental to the human experience. I want to study PPE because it permits a consideration of the inter-relationships between these disciplines and a greater understanding of their influence on individuals.

Witnessing the relevance of philosophy to society led me to discover and select PPE for my degree. Reading Mackie's 'Ethics: Inventing right and wrong', in which he argues for moral scepticism, alerted me to the question of objectivity in moral values. Also, listening to BBC and 'Philosophize this' podcasts on Kant's Categorical Imperative, I came to agree with Mackie's view that there is an ingrained, but incorrect, belief that objective values exist. Similarly, given the common use of moral judgement, reading into ethics has increased my openness to different moral perspectives.

Over the summer I completed a 4-week work experience placement in Canada, interviewing Local Government officials and First Nations elders. I am using my material in my EPQ 'Culture's impact on negotiation'. Understanding ongoing conflicts over issues such as land ownership has given context and impact to my reading, such as Locke's view on how property ownership is formed, and Nozick's view that justice is required in acquisition and transfer for the right to property. Currently, I am preparing a paper on the Enclosure Acts for a society journal.

Investigating Social Contract Theory by Locke, Rousseau and Hobbes gave me an interest in understanding frameworks for government legitimacy. This legitimacy takes different forms in practice, all of which define the limits and strength of the consent given. The concept of hypothetical consent creates a strong basis for comprehending why people accept government over a Leviathan-type world. Studying both French and Mandarin language and culture has expanded my political outlook. The gilets jaunes protests in France emphasised to me the complex relationship between politics, climate and economics: objections to the carbon tax led to a political crisis. Similarly, the Hong Kong protests illustrated how political systems define lived experience. My insights into political theory and the way it can be used to influence and understand people's circumstances have brought politics to life for me.

Economics interests me as both a cause and a consequence in changing international relationships. I run the school Economics Society, coordinating student presentations on national economies and events. Following a presentation on China's economic development, I was inspired to research and present a paper to an interschool history society on 'Chairman Mao's impact on economic development'. I argued that while his policies did not directly aid development, they created an environment that supported later growth. Examining everyday economics, I read Krugman's 'The Accidental Theorist' and Harford's 'Adapt'. Harford's argument that convenience lies at the centre of solving the Climate Crisis raises intriguing questions about how the government could use fiscal policy to slow climate change. Both macro and micro lenses provide me a rich source for developing my grasp of international systems.

I'm an active leader and participant in a range of clubs and societies both in school and out. I set up a French literature society, which helped develop my interest in the Philosophy of Language e.g. the subjectivity of meaning. As editor, I introduced a foreign languages section into the school magazine. I also enjoy debating competitions and alongside direct participation I have organised and judged intra-school events. I attend a local choir where we are rehearsing Vivaldi's Gloria and I especially enjoyed performing Mozart's Requiem.

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