Research and Results

The Philosophy Group (PHI) is a leading group in the field of philosophy and ethics of nature, animals, food and environment.

Our research projects focus on core concepts and principles that are often taken for granted in research, policy and practice. For example: How should we understand ‘risk’, ‘health’ and ‘safety’ in various policy contexts, e.g. food production and public health? Is it possible to develop a coherent understanding of what is ‘natural’, e.g. in relation to food production, agriculture, or nature development? How to evaluate the debates on intensive versus extensive livestock farming from an ethical perspective? What are the moral limits and justifications of patent regulation in the life sciences?

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Research and teaching activities involve ethical reflection on practical problems and analysis of the role and status of scientific knowledge in our modern globalised world. We do this in close cooperation with other groups at Wageningen University & Research. '

Our research strategy is pluralist, pragmatic, and often interdisciplinary, combining normative and empirical approaches. Moreover, we explore how analysis of practical issues may lead to theoretical insights and vice versa. Reflection and imagination can jointly unfold new ways for science, and society to deal with challenges to agriculture, development, public health and the environment.

Building on our research and teaching activities, we fulfil consultative roles in various national and international settings in business and social policy, such as Unilever, and the Health Council of the Netherlands, and we participate in debates in public and professional media.