Sem de Maagt

Sem de Maagt

I am an assistant professor in ethics and political philosophy at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Sem de Maagt

My research connects normative (political) ethics, questions about how we should act, and meta-ethics, questions about the status and justification of moral judgements. Against the grain of the dominant tendency in ethics to (over)specialize, I think that substantive ethical questions can only be answered once we know how moral judgements can be justified and vice versa, that meta-ethical questions cannot be separated from normative ethics.

I teach courses in ethics and political philosophy and I am the co-organizer of the PhD Spring School ‘Ethical Theory and Moral Practice’ for the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (see here for the 2018 edition). I am the co-supervisor of the PhD projects of Florian Bekkers and Dick Timmer.

Communicating philosophy to a broader audience is very important to me. I have co-authored a book on personal and practical identity published with Uitgeverij Boom (see my publications), I am a co-founder of a popular academic philosophy blog and I am the coordinator of the so-called ‘Ethische Annotaties’ of Utrecht University. I co-organize the monthly ‘Filosofisch Cafe‘ and the yearly ‘Utrechtse Dag van de Filosofie’.

In January 2017, I defended my PhD thesis ‘Constructing Morality: Transcendental Arguments in Ethics.’ My PhD thesis has been awarded with the Legatum Stolpianum, one of the oldest still existing scientific prizes in The Netherlands. I have received my Bachelor’s degree from University College Maastricht (2009, cum laude) and my Research Master’s degree in Philosophy from Utrecht University (2011, cum laude). During my PhD project, I spent a term at the Manchester Centre for Political Theory (2014) and another term at the London School of Economics (2015). I was a visiting researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy of Cambridge University for the autumn term of 2017.



  • IK: Filosofie van het Zelf (2016)
    Uitgeverij Boom
    With Leon de Bruin and Fleur Jongepier



In Dutch

  • De Constructie van Objectieve Moraal: Tussen Moreel Realisme en Moreel Relativisme (2018)
    In: Overtuigd en toch onzeker: over de rechtvaardiging van ‘onze’ moraal. Michiel Meijer (ed.). Valkhof Pers.
  • Ethische kanttekeningen bij overerving en erfbelasting (2018)
    In: Voor wie is de erfenis? Over vrijheid, gelijkheid, en familiegevoel. Paul de Beer, Jelmer van der Meer, Janneke Plantenga & Wiemer Salverda (Eds.). Amsterdam: Van Gennep.
    Met Ingrid Robeyns
  • Academische filosofie = publieksfilosofie? (2016)
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte
    Met Fleur Jongepier

Contact Sem de Maagt.