Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy 2019 - Wealth, Inequality and Democracy, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Utrecht University


April 08, 2019

Opportunity Cover Image - Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy 2019 - Wealth, Inequality and Democracy, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Postdoc in Philosophy: on project about “Wealth, Inequality and Democracy” (1.0 FTE)

Job description

This position is part of a Free Competition project granted by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO). The project investigates the link between private property and political power in liberal-democratic societies. The idea of property has always played an important role in political philosophy, in explaining and legitimizing the exercise of political authority. However, the exercise of property rights can also undermine political authority, by rivalling the power and functions of public organizations. This project aims to understand these linkages between property and legitimate political power, both against the historical background of the social contract tradition, and in the contemporary economic landscape marked by globalization, uncertainty about the capabilities of states to manage the economy and large inequalities in wealth.

Within this research project, the specific subproject for this postdoc position is meant to address the questions (1) whether wealth inequalities form a threat to legitimate democratic processes; if so (2) what – if anything – can be done to counter this threat; (3) how the analysis of the previous two questions reflects on the validity of (classical/contemporary) philosophical theories of property. In answering these questions, the subproject:

  • can take a specific theoretical approach to this topic (e.g. liberal, egalitarian, libertarian, republican, Marxist, democratic theory-oriented, etc.) or a mix of approaches. 
  • can focus on an analysis of one particular aspect of the wealth-democracy nexus (e.g. lobbying, campaign finance, tax evasion, international trade and investment, constitutional design, property-owning democracy, etc.) or take a more general approach.
  • can be more historically oriented (e.g. philosophical theories of how to deal with ‘oligarchy’ since Aristotle), or more systematically oriented. (e.g. a focus on normatively evaluating concrete proposals of legal regulation).    

You will work under the supervision of the programme leader Rutger Claassen. You will be part of a research team consisting of one other postdoc and a PhD-candidate. You will play an active role in the research team, organize and take part in workshops, public events and other activities. The length of the postdoc is 2 years, and the starting date September 1st 2019 at latest. You will be based at the Ethics Institute, which is part of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University, which provides a stimulating and internationally oriented research environment.


  • You have completed a PhD in Philosophy or in a related field.
  • You are specialised in ethics and/or political philosophy, for example in the field of political authority/legitimacy, theories of rights, democratic theory and/or theories of justice.
  • Additional knowledge in a field relevant to the project (especially: law, economics, political science) is welcome.
  • You have an excellent track record and research skills, relative to experience; and excellent academic writing and presentation skills.
  • You have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • You have an active interest in interdisciplinary work which connects philosophical analysis to other relevant disciplines and societal challenges.


You will be offered a full-time Postdoc position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of 12 months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 12 months (two years in total). The starting salary ranges between €3,389 and €3,637 (gross monthly salary on a fulltime basis depending on experience and qualifications (salary scale 10)). 

Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and terms of employment. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. 

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

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Publish Date
April 01, 2019