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Philosophy, Politics and Economics PPE Personal Statement

The conflict in Iraq in 2003 was, for me, a watershed moment. For the first time, I had a desire to more fully comprehend the world around me, specifically the reasons for and consequences of what I was witnessing on the news. This interest, which I have pursued ever since, along with my A-level studies, has pulled into sharp focus the importance of philosophy, politics and economics in understanding and influencing world affairs. It is a desire to inform the debates that will shape the next century that has motivated me to apply myself to the study of these subjects at degree level.

The way in which economics provides insight into a wide range of global issues, from poverty and development to everyday exchange, makes it both challenging and rewarding to study. My passion for economics encouraged me to lead my school's team in the Bank of England's Target 2.0 competition. This was rewarding as it improved my ability to deal with information from a variety of sources and it also provided me with a greater understanding of government policy, inspiring me to further widen my reading. I was drawn toward business cycle theory, which exposed me to the Austrian school of economics, my study of which has proven challenging and engaging owing to the complexity of many of the concepts. Thought provoking was the extent to which it differs from more mainstream schools of thought both in methodology and the conclusions it draws. For instance, when reading Rothbard's "Economic Depressions," I was interested in how the author described economic cycles as resulting from malinvestment caused by central bank-induced credit expansion, with recession being a correction process. This contrasted in particular with the Keynesian view expounded in Krugman's "Crisis of 2008."

Given the increasing role of the state in the lives of its citizens, I was curious as to how philosophers have sought to justify its role and outline its legitimate authority, gravitating me toward the study of moral and political philosophy. Reading J.S. Mill's "On Liberty," I was struck by how his "tyranny of the majority" and harm principle still resonate today. Although as Crocker argues in "Positive Liberty," the largely negative conception of liberty advanced by Mill and other classical liberals seems somewhat lacking; one can be without external interference but be in no meaningful sense "free". In search of a more thorough understanding of philosophy beyond the political, I read Russell's "Problems of Philosophy," and found illuminating his description of the act of sensation resulting from a priori and perceptual knowledge working in concert and his discussion of epistemology more widely, a subject I wish to pursue further at university.

I have strived to involve myself in activities outside of school, and I intend to continue this at university. As a prefect and member of the Sixth Form Council, I consolidated my organisational and team work skills. The opportunity to be a peer mentor served to enhance my skills of communication and operating independently. Enthusiasm for jazz music and the piano led me to join a local band which has been engaging, challenging and necessitated that I work to deadlines and motivate others. I believe these skills will allow me to grasp fully the opportunities both academic and social that university will present.

My gap year has presented opportunities to widen my own knowledge and experience. I have sought to develop my critical reasoning by studying A-level philosophy, forcing me to rethink my views on liberty, rights and justice. Through this, employment and a work experience placement with my local MP, I aim to be well equipped for the rigor of studying politics, philosophy and economics at undergraduate level.

Universities Applied to:

  • Exeter College, University of Oxford (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) - Offer (Unconditional) - Firm
  • University of St Andrews (Philosophy-International Relations) - Withdrawn
  • University College, University of Durham (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) - Rejection
  • University of Nottingham (Economics and Politics) - Withdrawn

Grades Achieved:

  • Economics (A2) - A*
  • Government and Politics (A2) - A*
  • Law (A2) - A*
  • History (A2) - A
  • Mathematics (AS) - B


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