Philosophy of Finance

Financial markets have a profound impact on modern life, yet the frenetic pace at which financial transactions occur, and the speed with which innovation transforms financial practice, offer little opportunity for the practitioner to reflect upon the ways in which the practice of finance is shaping modern life.

At the same time, the fluidity of financial practice presents challenges for scholars, questioning received models of financial markets and their import.

The Program on the Philosophy of Finance engages students, scholars and practitioners with the goal of addressing fundamental questions raised by the practice of finance. Through conferences, seminars, fellowships and publications, the Program on the Philosophy of Finance will create the space necessary for this interdisciplinary reflection.

From Practice to Theory

Aristotle taught us to begin with particulars when approaching theory. By investigating problems arising in the practice of finance, we seek neglected questions, overlooked areas that promise superior returns in the form of new theoretical insights.

From Theory to Practice

Because finance professionals face incentive structures that constrain action, scholars need the input of practitioners in order to discover how theories may be made practical. By bringing practitioners and scholars together, we can ensure that reflection provides guidance for the world in which we live.

The Quest for Wisdom

Drawing on Collegium’s strengths, the Program on the Philosophy of Finance engages in interdisciplinary inquiry, drawing insights from a variety of disciplines (philosophy, theology, economics, finance, etc) and spanning the history of thought in search of wisdom today.

Inaugural conference

Capitalism is threatened by stagnant wages, the fear of recession, and a growing sense that the economy is “rigged” in favor of the rich.  Where lies its future? Can capitalism be ordered to the common good? Is the field of finance part of the problem or the solution?

The Collegium Institute brought together leading scholars and practitioners in the fields of finance, ethics, and theology for our inaugural conference on “The Common Good and the Future of Capitalism.”

This event was co-sponsored by The Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School of Business.

Topics Include: 

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations

Payday Lending and the Underbanked

Financial Markets and the Common Good

Featured Speakers:

Marcia Pally, New York University, Fordham and Humboldt University

Lisa Servon, University of Pennsylvania

Mark Reiff, University of California, Davis

Nick Bosch, Money Mart

Mark Mulholland,  Matthew 25 Fund

and more!

Dates: Tuesday Oct 29 – Wednesday Oct 30

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Registration Fees: 

  • General: $200
  • Young Professionals: $120
  • Penn Faculty: Free
  • Non-Penn Faculty: $100
  • Cocktail Hour and Banquet Only: $50

To learn more, view the full lineup, and register for the conference, please click here!

Philosophy of Finance Fellowship

The Philosophy of Finance Fellowship draws together undergraduate and graduate students in order to explore the work of both scholars and practitioners in order to address the fundamental questions raised by the practice of finance.

The program seeks to create the space necessary for this interdisciplinary approach, melding theory and practice, to cultivate a fullness and nuanced disposition towards the field of finance.

The Philosophy of Finance Working Group meets monthly over lunch to explore fundamental questions raised in the practice of finance. To learn more about current and previous Philosophy of Finance Fellowships, please click here


Collaborate with us

If you are interested in learning more, or signing up for announcements about Philosophy of Finance programming, please contact our Program & Communications Coordinator Jessica Sweeney at:

If you are a practitioner or a scholar of finance and/or philosophy and are interested in collaborating with us on seminars, conferences, working groups and publications, please contact the Director of the Philosophy of Finance Project, Dr. Michael Kane: