Rutger Claassen is Professor of Political Philosophy and Economic Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. He 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.
His research is in the field of socio-economic justice, where 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. Moreover, he is interested in economic ethics and investigates the moral value of central economic institutions such as markets, property and corporations. Currently he is the principal investigator of a 750.000,- euro research project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) on Private Property & Political Power in Liberal-Democratic Societies. From summer 2020 onwards, he will be the principal investigator of a research project on The Business Corporation as a Political Actor, funded by the European Research Council (ERC-Consolidator Grant). He has published in journals such as Economic & Philosophy, Inquiry, Law & Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy and Politics, Philosophy & Economics.
At Utrecht University, Rutger Claassen is the Program Director of the new BA-program in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE), starting 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. He is the co-organizer of a monthly Philosophical Café in Utrecht.
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