Universiteit Leiden

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Nicholas Vrousalis elected to Princeton fellowship

Nicholas Vrousalis, lecturer in Political Philosophy at the Institute of Political Science of Leiden University, has been elected to a fellowship at Princeton University. During the academic year 2015/16, Vrousalis will be based at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, where he will write a book on exploitation and power.

Vrousalis is one of the nine philosophers (out of more than 150 applications) who have been awarded a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship. This is a very prestigious grant, enabling its winners to devote an academic year in residence at Princeton to research and writing about human values in public and private life.

Power relationships, rather than distributive injustice

During his residency at Princeton's Center for Human Values, Vrousalis will attempt to reformulate the main categorial framework of exploitation theory, by shifting the normative focus from theories of justice to theories of power. 'The consensus view among contemporary philosophers is that exploitation is a species of distributive injustice. That is, it consists in the unfair taking of advantage.' 

Vrousalis thinks that this is only part of the story: 'My view is that exploitation is not tantamount to distributive injustice. It consists, instead, in the instrumentalisation of one's vulnerability for the enrichment of another. And since one's vulnerability is another's power, to exploit is to possess power over others.' He is looking forward to work on the subsequent question. 'What kind of power over others do exploiters have? The answer I offer in the book is that the relevant kind of power is domination, that is, the possession of subordinating power over others.'

Further reading

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