Prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. (Martin) van Hees

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Professor of Ethics; Head of Department


My main research interests concern the foundations of (moral and political) liberalism. I am particularly interested in theories of freedom, the analysis of moral responsibility and quality of life assessments. In parts of my work I make use of formal tools (game theory, social choice theory). More generally, I have a keen interest in the interdisciplinary analysis of questions in moral and political philosophy.

After studying philosophy and political science in Rotterdam, I obtained my PhD in Nijmegen. Before moving to the VU University Amsterdam, I was affiliated with the University of Amsterdam and the University of Groningen. I am a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).


a. Journal articles (English)

‘The Impossibility of Pure Libertarianism’ (with Matthew Braham), Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming
‘The Formula of Universal Law: A Reconstruction’ (with Matthew Braham), Erkenntnis, forthcoming
‘Ordering the Right and the Good, Practically Speaking’ (with Matthew Braham), Journal of Value Inquiry, 14: 2014, 95-105
‘Rights, Goals and Capabilities’, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, 12: 247-259, 2013
‘An Anatomy of Moral Responsibility’ (with Matthew Braham), Mind, 121, 601-634, 2012 ‘Responsibility Voids’ (with Matthew Braham), The Philosophical Quarterly, 61, 2011, 6-15
‘The Specific Value of Freedom’, Social Choice and Welfare, 35, 2010, pp. 687-703
‘Degrees of Causation’ (with M. Braham), Erkenntnis, 71, 2009, pp. 323-344
‘The Development of Capability Indicators and their Relation to Life Satisfaction’ (with P. Anand, G. Hunter, I. Carter, K. Dowding, F. Guala), Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 2009 (10), 125-152
‘In Praise of Manipulation’ (with K. Dowding), British Journal of Political Science, 2007 (38), 1-15
‘Counterfactual Success and Negative Freedom’ (with K. Dowding) , Economics and Philosophy, 2007 (23), 141-162
‘The Limits of Epistemic Democracy’, Social Choice and Welfare, 2007 (28), 649-666
‘Logical Constraints on Judgement Aggregation’ (with M. Pauly), Journal of Philosophical Logic, 2006 (35), 569-585
‘Freedom, Opportunity and Uncertainty: A Logical Approach’ (with R. Gekker), Journal of Economic Theory, 2006 (130), 246 – 263
‘Capabilities and Achievements: A Logit Model and Survey Evidence’ (with P. Anand), Journal of Socio-Economics, 2006 (35), 268-284
‘Poverty and the Local Contingency of Universal Rights’ (with K. Dowding), International Social Science Journal, 2004 (180), 301-12
‘Freedom of Choice and Diversity of Options: Some Difficulties’, Social Choice and Welfare, 2004 (22), 253-266
‘New Choices: Genomics, Freedom and Morality’ (with Paul Anand), Social Theory and Practice, 2003 (29), 607-630
‘Acting Autonomously Versus Not Acting Heteronomously’, Theory and Decision, 54: 337-355, 2003
‘The Construction of Rights’ (with K. Dowding), American Political Science Review, 2003 (97), 281-293
‘Voluntariness, Suffering, and Euthanasia’, Philosophical Explorations, 2003 (6), 50-64
‘Negative Freedom and the Liberal Paradoxes’, Rationality and Society, 2000 (12), 335-352
‘The Choices Judges Make: Court Rulings, Personal Values, and Legal Constraints’ (with Bernard Steunenberg), Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2000 (12), 305-324
‘On Rights in Game Forms’ (with M. Fleurbaey), Synthese, 2000 (123), 295-326
‘Liberalism, Efficiency, and Stability: Some Possibility Results’, Journal of Economic Theory, 1999 (88), 294-309
‘Opportunity and Freedom’ (with M. Wissenburg), Political Studies, 1999 (47), 67-82
‘On the Analysis of Negative Freedom’, Theory and Decision, 1998 (45), 175-197
‘Explaining Institutions: A Defence of Reductionism’, European Journal of Political Research, 1997 (32), 51-69
‘A Game-Theoretic Logic of Norms and Actions’, Logique et Analyse, 1996 (155-6), 229-241
‘Individual Rights and Legal Validity’, Analyse & Kritik, 1996 (18), 81-95
‘Libertarian Collective Decision-Making: A New Framework’, Social Choice and Welfare, 1995 (12), 155-164

b. Book chapters (English)

‘Freedom, Rights and Social Software’ (with Keith Dowding), in: J. van Eijck and R. Verbrugge (eds.), Games, Actions and Social Software. Multidisciplinary Aspects, Heidelberg: Springer, 2012, pp. 14-28
‘Liberal Politics and Demographic Decline’, In: C. Bruil, P. van Schie, M. van de Velde (eds.), The Dynamics of Demographic Decline, Elf, The Hague, 2011, pp. 9-19.
‘Some General Results on Responsibility for Outcomes’, in: A. van Deemen and A. Rusinowska, Collective Decision Making: Views from Social Choice and Game Theory, Springer, 2010, pp. 99-109
‘Ends and Means, Values and Virtues’ (with Jan van Eijck), in: J. van Eijck and R. Verbrugge (eds.), Discourses on Social Software, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009, pp. 87-98
‘Freedom of Choice’ (with K. Dowding), in: P. Anand, P. Pattanaik, C. Puppe (eds.), Handbook of Rational and Social Choice, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 374-392
‘Intentions, Decisions and Rationality’ (with O. Roy), in: T. Boylan and R. Gekker (eds.) Economics, Rational Choice and Normative Philosophy, London: Routledge, 2009, 56-72
‘Intentions and Plans in Decision and Game Theory’ (with O. Roy), in: B. Verbeek (ed.), Reasons and Intentions, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008, 207-225
‘Freedom, Coercion and Ability’ (with K. Dowding), in: M. Braham and F. Steffen (eds.), Power, Freedom, and Voting. Essays in Honour of Manfred J. Holler, Berlin: Springer, 2008, 307-324
‘The Free Will in Bob Dylan’ in: P. Vernezze and C. Porter (eds.), Bob Dylan and Philosophy. It’s Alright Ma, I’m only Thinking, Open Court, 2005, pp. 115-123

c. Monographs

M. van Hees, P. van Schie, M. van de Velde, Neoliberalisme: Een politieke fictie (Neo-Liberalism: A Political Fiction), Boom: Amsterdam, 2014 
Legal Reductionism and Freedom, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000. 
Rights and Decisions. Formal Models of Rights and Liberalism, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995.

d. Articles (Dutch/other)

‘Liberale verantwoordelijkheid: uitgangspunten’, in: M. van Hees, Fleur de Beaufort, Boudewijn de Bruin, Patrick van Schie, Marcel Wissenburg, Liberale verantwoordelijkheid: individuele, economische en democratische plichten, Den Haag: Teldersstichting, 2014
‘Liberaal paternalisme en de waarde van vrijheid’, in: WRR (ed.), De overheid als keuzearchitect? WRR Lecture 2009, Den Haag, 2009, pp. 35-42
‘De ethiek van een taboe’, Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte, 101, 2009, 208-210
‘La Libertà Individuale in un Contesto Sociale’, Atlantide, vol 9., n3., 2005, pp 98-9 
Structuren van vrijheid (‘Structures of Freedom’), Inaugural lecture, Pp. 26. Groningen, 2004.
‘Over het Goede en het Juiste’, in: M. van Hees, E. de Jonge en L. Nauta (red.), Kernthema’s van de Filosofie, Amsterdam: Boom, 2003, 13-34
‘Authenticiteit’, in: M. van Hees en M. Verkerk (eds.), Het Goede Leven. Over Oude en Nieuwe Waarden, Amsterdam: Boom, 2003
‘Moreel Pessimisme en Sociale Deviantie’ (with R. Boomkens) (‘Moral Pessimism and Social Deviance’) . In: T. Jaspers en J. Outshoorn (red.), De Bindende Werking van Normen. Reflecties over Participatie, Binding en Betrokkenheid in Opvoeding & Onderwijs, Arbeid en Zorg. Amsterdam: Aksant, 2002, 179-214
‘De Vele Gedaanten van de Rationele-Keuzetheorie’ (with Jack Vromen) (‘The Many Faces of Rational Choice Theory’), 2002, in: Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte, 94, 3-15.
‘Sulla Misurazioni Della Libertà Empirica’ (‘On the Measurement of Empirical Freedom’) , Etica ed Economia, 2002 (02), 41-58
‘De Waarde van Vrijheid’ (‘The Value of Freedom’) and ‘Liberalisme en Republikanisme: Een reactie op Jos de Beus’ (‘Liberalism and Republicanism: A Reply to Jos de Beus’), Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte, 2000 (92), 218-29, 236-7
‘Individuele Voorkeuren en Collectieve Beslissingen’ (‘Individual Preferences and Collective Decisions’), in: W. Hout en H. Pellikaan (red.), Formele Modellen in de Sociale Wetenschappen, Bussum: Coutinho, 1998, 103-130
‘Speltheorie en de Analyse van Strategisch Gedrag’ (‘Game Theory and the Analysis of Strategic Behaviour’) , in: W. Hout en H. Pellikaan (red.), Formele Modellen in de Sociale Wetenschappen, Bussum: Coutinho, 1998, 131-158

e. Edited volumes (Dutch)

M. van Hees, Th. Nys, I. Robeyns (eds.), Basisboek Ethiek(Introduction to Ethics), Boom: Amsterdam, 2014
M. van Hees, E. de Jonge en L. Nauta (eds.), Kernthema’s van de Filosofie (Core Themes of Philosophy), Amsterdam: Boom, 2003 (6th printing 2012)
M. van Hees en M. Verkerk (eds.), Het Goede Leven. Over Oude en Nieuwe Waarden (The Good Life. About Old and New Values), Amsterdam: Boom, 2003