Bio & CV

Here you can find: 

Bio (English) 

Rutger Claassen is Professor of Political Philosophy and Economic Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. Most of his research is at the intersection of politics, economics and ethics, asking fundamental theoretical and normative questions about the way our economies are structured. Currently, he is the principal investigator of a research project on  The Business Corporation as a Political Actor, funded by the European Research Council (ERC-Consolidator Grant). In this project, he investigates the societal role and legitimacy of business corporations. Also, he is the principal investigator of a research project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) on Private Property & Political Power in Liberal-Democratic Societies. In the field of socio-economic justice, he defends a version of the capability approach – pioneered by economist Amartya Sen and philosopher Martha Nussbaum, which focuses on the development of personal capabilities instead of material resources as the central criterion for a just society. In his monograph Capabilities in a Just Society. A Theory of Navigational Agency (Cambridge University Press, 2018) he argues for a capability approach centered on a notion of autonomous agency. He has published in journals such as Economic & Philosophy, Inquiry, Law & Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy and Politics, Philosophy & Economics.  

Rutger Claassen obtained his PhD in 2008 from Utrecht University for a dissertation about the moral limits of markets. He was assistant professor at Leiden University and a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbour and Humboldt Universität in Berlin. At Utrecht University, Rutger Claassen was the first Program Director of the new BA-program in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE), which started in September 2018. He also regularly publishes articles and books in Dutch, and gives lectures and interviews so as to bring philosophy to a broader audience. For years, he was the co-organizer of a monthly Philosophical Café in Utrecht. For more information, a full CV and some downloads, please visit 

Korte Bio (Nederlands) 

Rutger Claassen (1978) is hoogleraar Politieke Filosofie & Economische Ethiek aan het Departement Filosofie & Religiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Zijn onderzoek heeft betrekking op de filosofische fundamenten van de liberaal-democratische rechtsstaat en de ethische en politieke dimensies van de markteconomie. Hij is momenteel projectleider van het door de European Research Council (ERC) gefinancierde onderzoeksproject The Business Corporation as a Political Actor (2020-2025). Daarin onderzoekt hij met zijn team de vraag welke maatschappelijke verantwoordelijkheden bedrijven hebben, en hoe zij maatschappelijke verantwoording kunnen afleggen. Ook is hij projectleider van het door NWO gefinancierde onderzoeksproject Private Property and Political Power in Liberal-Democratic Societies (2017-2022). Daarin onderzoekt hij de wisselwerking tussen private eigendomsrechten en de publieke sfeer van democratische besluitvorming. 

Rutger Claassen studeerde rechten en filosofie, en promoveerde in 2008 aan de Universiteit Utrecht op een proefschrift over de morele grenzen aan de markt. Hij werkte eerder als universitair docent aan de Universiteit Leiden en was visiting scholar aan de University of Michigan in Ann Arbour en de Humboldt Universität in Berlijn. Hij publiceert regelmatig artikelen en houdt lezingen voor een Nederlandstalig publiek. Ook publiceerde hij twee Nederlandstalige boeken (Het eeuwig tekort, Ambo 2004 en Het huis van de vrijheid, Ambo 2011). Hij was oprichter en presentator van het Filosofisch Café Utrecht en de eerste programmaleider van het nieuwe Bachelorprogramma Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij trad op in tv-programma’s als Buitenhof en het Filosofisch Kwintet. Voor meer informatie en downloaden van artikelen kunt u terecht op 

Short CV 


2018- Professor of Political Philosophy & Economic Ethics, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Utrecht University. 

2013-2018   Associate Professor of Ethics & Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Utrecht University 

2008-2012  Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University (2008-2012). 

2003-2008  Junior Professor at Department of Philosophy, Utrecht University. Coordinator of MA-program ‘Filosofie in Bedrijf’ 

2007  Visiting scholar at Humboldt University, Berlin (Spring). 

2005  Visiting scholar at University of Michigan (Fall Semester).  


Main diplomas 

2003-2008  Ph.D. in Philosophy, Utrecht University (Defense: May 23rd, 2008). Dissertation: The Market’s Place in the Provision of Goods. Supervisors: Marcus Düwell (Utrecht University) and Elizabeth Anderson (University of Michigan). 

1997-2003   Doctoraal (combination of BA and MA) in Philosophy, Utrecht University. Cum laude. 

1996-2002  Doctoraal (combination of BA and MA) in Law, Utrecht University. Cum laude. 


Areas of specialization: ethics & economics, theories of distributive justice (especially capability approach), theories of commodification, markets and capitalism. 

Areas of interest: normative political theories (liberalism and its rivals), democratic theory, normative ethics, business ethics.  


2019- Member of the Programmaraad of the Internationale School voor Wijsbegeerte (ISVW).  

2019, June Member of Visitation Committee for the Bachelor Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE), at the University of Amsterdam.  

2017- Member of Core Team of Platform “Markets and Corporations in Open Societies”, Utrecht University.  

2015-2020 Developer and first Program Director of a new Bachelor-programma in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), started september 2018. 

2015-2020 Member of the Committee for the Section Ethics & Practical Philosophy of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW). 

2015-2016 Member of Faculty Council of the Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University. 

2014-2020 Coordinator of Pillar “Sustainability and Resilience”, together with prof. M. Düwell (one of the five pillars of Utrecht University’s Strategic Theme “Institutions for an Open Society”). 

2013-2015  Member of Examination Committee for all Bachelor Programs in Philosophy & Religious Studies, Utrecht University. 

2009-2012  Member/Chair of Educational Committee Bachelor Political Science, Institute for Political Science, Leiden University.  

2009-2012  Member/Chair of Educational Committee Master Political Science, Institute for Political Science, Leiden University.  

2008-2011  Member of ICT-Committee, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University  

2003-2008  Member of Admissions Committee and Examination Committee, MA program Philosophy of Business, Utrecht University. 

What it is to do Philosophy, in 80 words 

Philosophy is hard work, and while it can be rewarding it can also be frustrating. The philosophy quote admirably captures the essence, and has been a source of consolation for me at times when things didn’t work out:  

‘Any effort in philosophy to make the obscure obvious is likely to be unappealing, for the penalty of failure is confusion while the reward of success is banality. An answer, once found, is dull; and the only remaining interest lies in a further effort to render equally dull what is still obscure enough to be intriguing. In this recognition that my book may be more stimulating for its failures than for its successes, I find some consolation for its shortcomings  

(from: Nelson Goodman, The Structure of Appearance (3rd ed.), D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland, 1977)