Political Theory Project

STAFF

The JPPE is supported by the Political Theory Project (PTP), a department at Brown University directed by Professors John Tomasi and Daniel J. D'Amico. The JPPE aspires to uphold the PTP mission and principles:

Mission

The mission of the Political Theory Project (PTP) is to investigate the ideas and institutions that make societies free, prosperous, and fair. We approach these big questions by combining insights from history, philosophy, politics, and economics. Central to our approach is a commitment to methodological and viewpoint diversity. We believe that quality research in political economy is best conducted by a community of scholars who see the world in diverse ways and whose work spans disciplinary boundaries. 

Bedrock Principles of the PTP

  1. The PTP is committed to encouraging, and providing venues for, free thinking at Brown. Specifically, the PTP affirms freedom of speech and expression as first principles of education in a free society. We affirm that principle even when (indeed, especially when) the topics or speakers are challenging, controversial, or politically heterodox.
     

  2. The PTP believes that substantive policy disagreements are best conducted with reference to evidence--for example, findings of mainstream social science. If sides in a discussion deny social facts, or claim that opponents who assert facts are ipso facto committing errors, political discussions threaten to slip into virtue signaling, or mere assertions of power. By contrast, conscientious reference to social scientific facts improves political discourse.
     

  3. Free thinking takes bravery, especially when one questions widely held beliefs. But a culture of civility can make departures from orthodoxy less costly. We encourage Brown students to respect one another’s opinions, especially when those opinions diverge from campus orthodoxies. The PTP creates spaces for civil discourse through explicit presumptions of good faith and charitable interpretation.
     

  4. Civic education, especially at an elite university such as Brown, requires that students have regular opportunities to consider the ideas of leading scholars and public figures holding divergent ideological viewpoints. Public lectures and events sponsored by the PTP are crafted so as to showcase political differences (at a minimum, PTP events showcase central ideas from the major political parties in America).

The JPPE is run by undergraduate student members of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Society, a scholarship organization founded by the Political Theory Project in the fall of 2016.  The PPE Society aims to discover and unite Brown University students who share a desire to understand how societies may become better places for their citizens to live and flourish. The PPE Society is both a scholarship and learning opportunity for students at Brown to investigate social science and political philosophy while engaging with other similarly dedicated students, faculty and visiting researchers.

You can learn more about the Political Theory Project and the PPE Society here: