The University of Southampton

MANG3068 Philosophy of Entrepreneurship

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the history of ideas in the domain of entrepreneurship studies in an attempt to examine them from a philosophical standpoint. Students will be exposed to the core questions about the phenomenon of entrepreneurship and the most prominent ways of addressing them. Throughout this process, students will appreciate the practical relevance of prima facie detached from the real-world analyses and will be given the unique opportunity to explicitly reflect on problems with uncertain answers, yet ones that they must confront in dealing with entrepreneurship-related decisions. An underlying premise of this module is that the most important questions about enterprise cannot be addressed by appeal to authorities or textbooks, but more fundamentally require reliance on students’ own judgment. Besides the strengthening of students’ thinking skills about innovative action in an uncertain and constantly evolving economic landscape, students will also have the opportunity to see how philosophical modes of analysis can be fruitfully applied in the study of concrete social-scientific disciplines, witnessing thus a fine illustration of applied philosophy of science.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide you with a thorough understanding of the history of ideas around the phenomenon of entrepreneurship and encourage you to reflect critically on burning questions around enterprise.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The immense complexity of entrepreneurial phenomena
  • The value of making explicit and putting under critical scrutiny tacit convictions guiding our day-to-day activities
  • The inevitability of philosophical reflection in dealing with important questions in the domain of entrepreneurship
  • A thorough appreciation of the indecisive and open-ended nature of answers to such questions
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the key ideas animating the domain of entrepreneurship
  • Recognize different schools of thought and their intellectual foundations
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of perspectives promising to demystify entrepreneurial phenomena
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the phenomenon of enterprise from a historical standpoint
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • More objectively evaluate reasoning processes and avoid fallacious modes of reasoning
  • Use a wide range of analytical tools in order to enrich your modes of argumentation
  • Write well-crafted essays and present them in a well-structured manner
  • Articulate and communicate your own views confidently


The topics covered in this module will include: • Historical perspectives: The history of enterprise, the history of (theorising) enterprise; • The dream of a scientific study of entrepreneurship: The role of philosophy in aiding scientific progress, Austrian philosophers of entrepreneurship, obstacles to progress, key debates, intellectual foundations of conflicting perspectives; • Facing the big questions: What is an entrepreneurial opportunity? What is the nature of uncertainty? Who is an entrepreneur? Are entrepreneurs different? How can we define entrepreneurship? Does entrepreneurial foresight exist? Is entrepreneurial profit morally justifiable? • Related intellectual approaches: Political and cultural critiques, ideologies of enterprise, philosophical perspectives on the motives of entrepreneurial behaviour, sociology of deviance.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Interactive case studies • Directed reading • Private/guided study Learning activities include • Introductory lectures • Essay • In class debate and discussion • Private study • Use of video and online materials

Follow-up work12
Wider reading or practice40
Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

International Small Business Journal. ,0 , pp. 0.

Acs, Z. J. & Audretsch, D. B. (2011). Handbook of entrepreneurship research. 

Knight, F. (1921). Risk, uncertainty, and profit. Boston. 

Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice. ,0 , pp. 0.

von Mises, L. (1963). Human action. 

Casson, M. & Casson, F. (2014). History of entrepreneurship. 

Landes, D. S., Mokyr, J. & Baumol, W. J. (2012). The invention of enterprise. 

Academy of Management Review. ,0 , pp. 0.

Journal of Evolutionary Economics. ,0 , pp. 0.

Cambridge Journal of Economics. ,0 , pp. 0.

Kirzner, I. (1979). Perception, opportunity and profit. 

Entrepreneurship & Regional Development. ,0 , pp. 0.

Organization. ,0 , pp. 0.

Philosophy of the Social Sciences. ,0 , pp. 0.

Chell, E. & Karatas-Özkan (2014). Handbook of research on small business and entrepreneurship. 

Organization Studies. ,0 , pp. 0.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.



Class Exercise


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students will be able to use resources available through the library, but the purchase of some books is recommended.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.