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Ethics and Political Philosophy Group Talk (Nicholas Vrousalis, Erasmus Rotterdam)

Thursday May 4, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The Ethics and Political Philosophy Research Group is pleased to welcome as guest speaker Nicholas Vrousalis, an associate professor in Practical Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Dr. Vrousalis’s work revolves around distributive ethics, democratic theory, and the history of political philosophy, with an emphasis on Kant, Hegel, and Marx.

Talk Title

Exploitation as Domination: An Overview

Talk Abstract

The exploitation of human by human is a globally pervasive phenomenon. Slavery, serfdom, and the patriarchy are part of its lineage. Guest and sex workers, commercial surrogacy, precarious labour contracts, sweatshops, and markets in blood, vaccines, or human organs are contemporary manifestations of exploitation under capitalism.What makes these exploitative transactions unjust? And is capitalism inherently exploitative? This book offers answers to these two questions. In response to the first question, it argues that exploitation is a form of domination, self-enrichment through the domination of others. On the domination view, exploitation complaints are not, fundamentally, about harm, coercion, or unfairness. Rather, they are about who serves whom and why. Exploitation, in a word, is a dividend of servitude: the dividend the powerful extract from the servitude of the vulnerable. In response to the second question, the book argues that this servitude is inherent to capitalist relations between consenting adults; capital just is monetary title to control over the labour capacity of others. It follows that capitalism, the mode of production where capital predominates, is an inherently unjust social structure.

About the Ethics and Political Philosophy Group

The Ethics and Political Philosophy Group meets periodically throughout the year to discuss topics in value theory and related fields, including meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, moral psychology, practical reason, agency, and identity.



Thursday May 4, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Brendan de Kennessy


Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100 (Main Floor Lecture Hall)
170 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8 Canada
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