Introduction to the Philosophy of The Social Sciences

July 8 - 31, 2024, four sessions per week (Monday to Thursday)➡️ Remote and on-campus sessions available

Course Summary

This course provides an overview of foundational and philosophical issues raised by the theories and practices of the highly interdisciplinary social sciences. The disciplines covered include Economics, Sociology, Psychology, History, and Political Science. A general emphasis throughout the course will be on the applicability of concepts and tools used in the physical sciences, as well as the tools of philosophical analysis.

We will discuss the meaning, history, and evolution of the foundational concepts that the social sciences explore and use, such as Well-Being, Freedom and Autonomy, Social Norms, Humanity and Moral Obligation, Rationality, Authority, Democracy, Causality and Explanation, the role of mathematical models, and general laws for understanding society, objectivity and subjectivity, among others. These concepts will be illustrated through various case studies related to current global challenges such as climate change, globalization, and international cooperation.

The exploration of these concepts—and the theories addressing them—brings about critical and complex debates and alternative approaches. This exploration is invaluable for anyone interested in gaining a broad and deep understanding of foundations and current state of the social sciences, of Liberal Democracy, and of the modern world.


Dates: July 8 - 31, 2024, four sessions per week (Monday to Thursday)
Time: 20:00 - 21:20 EEST (Kyiv time)
Duration: 4 weeks



Pini Ben-Or, Chief Science Officer at Aktana (a sales & marketing systems startup).


Remote and on-campus sessions available


Credits: 3 ECTS credits for attending all classes and completing assignments, including the final project.
Certification: Participants will receive a certificate, with special mentions for exceptional work.

The curriculum includes:

  • Session 1:

    Introduction: what are the social sciences? How are the social sciences evolving recently?

  • Session 2:

    What is Philosophy and the tools of philosophical analysis and their utility for the social sciences

  • Session 3:

    The Social Sciences vs. the Natural Sciences, & The Enlightenment

  • Session 4:

    Freedom - Individual Freedom vs. Determinism, Social Freedom

  • Sesion 5:

    The Self & The Place of Mind and Value in relationship to Science

  • Sesion 6:

    Social Science Research Methodology - Measurement, Probability, Statistics, Decision Theory

  • Sesion 7:

    Causality, Laws of Nature, and Explanation in the Social Sciences

  • Sesion 8:

    Norms as the Cement of Society, Reason and Rationality

  • Sesion 9:

    Mathematical Models in the Social Sciences (Choice Models, Game Theory, and More)

  • Sesion 10:

    Rationality and the Philosophy of Economics

  • Sesion 11:

    Social Choice and Political Philosophy

  • Sesion 12:

    The Inheritance of the European Enlightenment - Political Liberalism and its challengers

  • Sesion 13:

    Modernism & Postmodernism - Implications to Political Controversies and challenges to the stability of Democracy

  • Sesion 14:

    The Limits of Nationalism & The Philosophy of History

  • Sesion 15:

    Globalization and its Challenges

Target audience: The target audience for this course includes last-year undergraduate students, as well as MA, MSc, and PhD students from any field taught at the Kyiv School of Economics. While the course is ideally suited for candidates with a solid background in statistics, we also encourage B.A., MBA, and M.S. students with an interest in the topic to apply.
Extensive programming experience or skills are not required. However, basic programming experience (such as Excel) is necessary. We will use the KNIME Analytics Platform for lectures and assignments. Previous exposure to KNIME is not assumed: training will be provided. 

Tuition fee for the course is 2000 uah - all received funds will be doubled and sent to “Achilles” battalion    *Course is free for KSE students*

Registration Deadline: Please fill out the registration form by Friday, July 28, 17:00 EEST (Kyiv time)

About the Instructor:


Pini Ben-Or

An experienced technology leader who as a Chief Science Officer oversees artificial intelligence (AI) and analytic innovation at Aktana (a sales & marketing systems startup). He has spent much of his career focused on improving business decisions using advanced analytics, optimization, business intelligence, and machine learning. In addition to being a data science expert, Pini enjoys and excels at building highly capable teams and nurturing a culture of innovation.

Prior to Aktana, Pini served as Global Head of Analytics at Actimize where he helped transform the company from reliance on rule systems and expert models to deploying fully agile machine-learning-based models for financial crime detection. Throughout his career Pini has introduced analytics innovations in the applications of machine learning, data management, operations optimization, marketing channel optimization, and business intelligence. He has multiple patents and patents pending, most recently in the area of machine-learning on network graph data.

Pini has a BSc in Physics, Mathematics, and Philosophy from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a MA and MPhil in Philosophy from Columbia University in NY, where his research areas were Decision Theory, AI, and Philosophy of Physics.