Ethics and Public Policy is a cross-disciplinary major that gives you valuable perspectives on intersecting issues that connect the study of philosophy, economics, law, and sociology. All of these disciplines involve, in part, a focus on practical questions concerning how we ought to behave and how we ought to regulate the behavior of others. For example, the very reason for law’s existence is the regulation of human behavior, the enforcement of human ideals, and the resolution of human conflict. Almost everyone would agree that what society ought to do will depend in part on actual or potential consequences of its actions. In today’s world, some of the most import consequences of actions and policies are economic. It would be folly to try to reason clearly about how to rectify injustice, for example, without thinking long and hard about the economic impact of one’s plans. But the values impacted by law and social policy go beyond the economic and include the role of policies in constructing the very fabric of society and the nature of the political state in which we want to live.
This major would be an ideal background for Law School. It would bring to legal studies an important background in fields that will both explicitly and implicitly arise in the context of pursuing a J.D. The study of reasoning that is an important component of the major will also be useful in preparing for LSAT’s, GMAT’s and MCAT’s. The major would also be an excellent preparation for students interested in bringing an important and sophisticated cross-disciplinary perspective to such diverse fields (among others) as government, urban and regional planning, social work, and business.
Given the structure of the major, it will be particularly easy to combine it with a second major in one of the fields of specialization. Doing so would provide even more flexibility in deciding what to do after graduation, particularly when contemplating graduate work or professional careers.
Diane Jeske's published work in ethics addresses topics such as the grounds of special obligations to intimates, the nature of friendship, and utilitarianism versus deontology. Her current teaching and research interests also include political philosophy, philosophy of law, personal identity, and feminist ethics.