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Nicholas Vrousalis


Current position: Associate Professor, Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

During his EURIAS fellowship Nicholas Vrousalis worked on the project 'Freedom and Economic Inequality'

Project at AIAS

Vrousalis’ research project studies how inequality in income and wealth impact freedom. Conventional wisdom in philosophy and economics holds that mutually consensual and beneficial transactions promote freedom and autonomy. Vrousalis challenges this view, advocating an alternative perspective on freedom.

Suppose your boss offers you a raise in return for cleaning his boots, or that a millionaire offers you thousands of euros in return for a sexual favour, or that a fellow train commuter offers you the only available seat for fifty euros. Vrousalis argues that option-improving proposals, such as these, are bad when and because they make it costly for you to do the right thing for the right reasons. The boss, millionaire, and commuter do not help you respond to the right reasons; instead, they deliberately steer you towards giving a best response to their use of power over you. When might makes right, might corrupts right.

By drawing upon recent philosophical debates on freedom and the morality of markets, Vrousalis will study the problem of mutually beneficial mutual subjection, with an eye towards autonomy-enhancing alternatives.

Short bio

Nicholas Vrousalis is Assistant Professor in Political Philosophy at Leiden University and Visiting Associate Professor at Aarhus University. He read economics at Cambridge and received his doctorate in political philosophy from Oxford. His main research areas are distributive ethics, democratic theory, and the critique of political economy. Vrousalis’ work has appeared in Journal of Ethics, Politics Philosophy and Economics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Southern Journal of Philosophy.

Project title:

Freedom and Economic Inequality

Area of research:

Political philosophy

Fellowship period:

01 Oct 2018 – 31 Jul 2019