Sam Schmitt is a political science PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill specializing in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).

Sam is currently writing his dissertation, entitled Market Society, Open Society? Contemporary Protestant and Catholic Critiques of Market-Oriented Liberalism. The project uses Protestant and Catholic criticisms to identify weaknesses in the liberal defense of market society as an open society. Liberal theory has analyzed religious objections to state power but has overlooked many recent religious objections to the liberal market. Looking closely at these objections grants insight on toleration, environmentalism, collective association, the formation of oneself, and the justification of the social order.

This project fits with Sam’s general research interests at the intersection of three nested questions: (1) How can individuals best pursue their various conceptions of the good life? Given that individuals with similar visions will coordinate to pursue life together, (2) which institutional arrangements are conducive to their good life? And, (3) operating in a liberal, market-oriented society, how can these sometimes ‘illiberal’ arrangement best interact with each other and the broader social order? Those three questions orient Sam’s reading and study of political theory and drive his interest in PPE.

Before coming to UNC Political Science, Sam completed a Master of Arts in Philosophy at Bowling Green State University. At UNC, Sam published in Economics and Philosophy on the importance of character for stable political institutions and received the prestigious Tanner Award for teaching as a graduate student. You can read more about his teaching here.

When he isn’t writing or teaching, you can find Sam in devoted time enjoying music, poetry, and philosophy with others or trying (and failing) to run a 10k a little faster.