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Algorithmic Spectre: Philosophical Perspectives on Modern Economics and the Computer

According to a common textbook definition, economics seeks to explain human behaviour by assuming that people behave rationally. Many critics of economics claim that such explanations are deeply flawed, as they presuppose an unrealistically rational ideal of human agency. To address such worries, behavioural economics has advanced an alleged correction to economic theorising, one that relies on findings from psychology in order to revise the dominant neoclassical model of economic agency and rationality. One of the recent attempts to respond to the criticisms is to make economics more empirical by relying on advancements in machine learning and data science.

However, there is an important fact missing in these debates and proposals for a reform of economic research: since its modern development in the mid-20th century economics has largely been influenced by computer technology and research on artificial intelligence. The goal of the seminar is to 1) focus on the links between theoretical and empirical developments in economics and computer technology, 2) discuss epistemological implications of these influences, 3) put into perspective and assess the recent trends towards adopting data analysis in economics,  as well as the links between economic research and data capitalism. 

Exam info and full course description

Exam info and full course description can be found in the course catalogue.  

Admission Requirements

Course specific:

To apply for the course you must either be enrolled in a bachelor's degree, have a bachelor's degree or have passed a qualifying entry examination.    


Exchange students: nomination from your home university

Freemovers: documentation for English Language proficiency

You can read more about admission here.


Magdalena Malecka

Assistant Professor, AIAS-COFUND Fellow