1996 - PPE Finals

I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford.

I had changed from Zoology at the last minute. The course code, Y616 was already on my university application UCCA form, but though I was fascinated in the environment, and drawn to conservation and social issues, I realised I needed to understand the human systems which had an impact on all of these.

A chance comment by my uncle, a few days before sending in my application, led me to look up PPE.
Mind. Blown.

I was intrigued by philosophy in particular. I had never really heard about this, except for a disasterous class with 'Bod' (our hated RE teacher) a few years earlier, which threw us all right off the trolley problem.

I had a reputation as a daydreamer, but had never imagined other people thought about the things I did.
(Makes me both Founder and Head OxyMoron of the lesser-known discipline of Ignorant Solipsism.)

So, five years later after submitting a new application, I answered these questions for my Final Exams.
I particularly like the one about whether we can empathise with trees...



Metaphysics and the Theory of Knowledge

History of Philosophy from Descartes to Kant

Philosophy of Mind


Comparative Government

Theory of Politics




Studying PPE was very abstract, and also detached from real social issues.
It gave me useful tools, but often gave me more questions than answers.
Instead of following the usual path into the City, Civil Service or politics
I ricocheted around my own career trajectory, seeking more understanding.

It had not been an easy ride, even before my father killed himself in my second year.
I had chosen Magdalen to be by the river, and did not exactly fit in there!
Summer visits to the Balkans to be with refugees were helpful.
I repeated a year, eventually managing to finish.

I'm glad I managed to.