Philipp Stehr

PhD Candidate
Ethiek Instituut

I am a PhD candidate at Utrecht University and work in the ERC-funded Corporatocracy project. My research is on the political theory of the economic sphere. I am particularly interested in what a commitment to democracy means for economic institutions. I pursue my research in the spirit of realism and with a special concern for empirical grounding. I strive to clarify abstract normative claims through their application to real examples and through spelling out their meaning in real life.

Within the Corporatocracy project I have written a dissertation on business corporations and democracy. Business corporations hold an enormous amount of power towards employees, contractors, customers and the general public without any democratic control. This runs contrary to basic democratic convictions, so the democratization of business corporations is called for. In my thesis I explore several questions related to this project of democratization. What exactly does it mean to democratize a business corporation? Who should be involved and what kinds of institutional changes are democratic? How can we develop feasible institutional proposals for democratic business corporations? What are feasible institutional proposals and what does 'feasible' even mean in the context of such a fundamental change to our economic infrastructure?

I also have research interests in business ethics, the political and social philosophy of resistance and social change, as well as methodological issues in political philosophy around ideal and non-ideal theory and the status of normative vs. empirical statements.

Before coming to Utrecht, I have completed my MA at the Ruhr-University Bochum with a thesis entitled "Corporate Moral Agency on the Market - What Corporations Can and Cannot Do." In 2017 I received my BA in Philosophy with a minor in Business Studies from Goethe-University Frankfurt.