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Research Lines

The Future of a Free and Fair Society

Research line leaders: Ingrid Robeyns and Sabine Roeser

Research line coordinator: Elena Ziliotti

Research line participants: Patricia Reyes (PhD candidate), Roxanne van der Puil (PhD candidate), Arthur Gwagwa (PhD candidate), Elisa Paiusco (PhD candidate), Joseph Sta. Maria (PhD Candidate), Dorothea Gädeke, Emily Sullivan, Jeroen van den Hoven, Lambèr Royakkers, Patrick Taylor Smith, Joel Anderson, Uwe Matzat, Andreas Spahn, Juan Durán  


Under the influence of digital technologies, the basic structure of political and social orders is challenged, power relationships are changing, and the envisaged transformation towards sustainable societies calls for unprecedented global regulatory measures. These changes are fundamentally reshaping the social fabric of the world on which our moral principles and political commitments rest and force us to reconsider the content and the scope of basic moral convictions and raise questions of human control over social and political processes.

In this research line we try to map how the changes in social relations, social structures, social institutions, and democratic practices, brought about by SDTs affect the basic concepts of social and political philosophy. We work on the following clusters of questions:

  • How can we realize basic normative ideas - such as democratic control, social justice, individual rights, and solidarity – under the conditions created by SDTs? How can we optimally use new opportunities offered by SDTs?
  • To what extent are those normative concepts and the normative frameworks used in ethics, social, and political philosophy adequate to analyze the effects of SDTs, including their side effects? And if they are not, how should we adjust them?
  • How can we regulate SDTs and how should we empower our social and political institutions to enable political and societal decision-making that leads to morally justified innovations?