Ingrid Robeyns, professor of philosophy and holder of the Ethics and Institutions Chair at the Utrecht University, has won a 2 million euro grant from the European Research Council to pursue her research on “limitarianism” over the next five years.
Her project is called “Can Limitarianism Be Justified? A Philosophical Analysis of Limits on the Distribution of Economic and Ecological Resources,” or Fair Limits, for short. Here is a little about it:
Inequalities in wealth are significant and on average increasing, and various ecological sinks and resources are overused. These circumstances should prompt us to rethink what fairness entails in the distribution of economic and ecological material resources. In particular, are there good grounds to opt for upper limits in the distribution of those resources? Are there, from a moral point of view, certain limits in our appropriation or use of material resources that should not be crossed? Can we say, either individually or collectively, that at some point we are polluting too much and using too many natural resources, or that we are having too much wealth? If so, why—and if not, why not?…
The Fair Limits project will not only push the boundaries of the philosophy of distributive justice, but also pose some fundamental questions of the contemporary dominant paradigm in thinking about justice. Methodologically, this will be done by developing methods for normative political philosophy in non-ideal conditions. In addition, Fair Limits also entails a critical dialogue with non-liberal philosophies, such as Confucian philosophy, African Philosophy, and Indigenous philosophies, to reconsider the soundness of basic assumptions in contemporary liberal theories of justice. Fair Limits thus has the potential to contribute to a paradigm shift in philosophical analysis of questions of distributive justice.
You can learn more about the project and the award here.