Political and social philosophy

Moral aspects of energy transition

Udo Pesch has been involved in a number of projects that concerned the moral aspects of the energy transition. Most notably the attention concerned the role of the public in the energy transition, so to ensure that this transition aligns with the conditions of justice and democracy.

Cuppen, E., Brunsting, S., Pesch, U., & Feenstra, Y. (2015). How stakeholder interactions can reduce space for moral considerations in decision making: A contested CCS project in the Netherlands. Environment and Planning A, 47(9), 1963-1978.

Cuppen, E., Ejderyan, O., Pesch, U., Spruit, S., van de Grift, E., Correljé, A., & Taebi, B. (2020). When controversies cascade: Analysing the dynamics of public engagement and conflict in the Netherlands and Switzerland through “controversy spillover”. Energy Research & Social Science, 68, 101593. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101593

Cuppen, E., Pesch, U., Remmerswaal, S., & Taanman, M. (2019). Normative diversity, conflict and transition: Shale gas in the Netherlands. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, 165-175. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2016.11.004

Pesch, U. (2019). Elusive publics in energy projects: The politics of localness and energy democracy. Energy Research & Social Science, 56, 101225. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.101225





Democracy of innovation

One of the most pervasive challenges for the ethics and philosophy of technology is how to democratize processes of technology development.  Udo Pesch has studied how the public is involved in the creation of new technologies and also how the public can be involved in a meaningful way by setting up the right deliberative structures.

Pesch, U. (2021). Imaginaries of innovation: Turning technology development into a public issue. Science and Public Policy. doi:10.1093/scipol/scab017

Pesch, U., Huijts, N. M. A., Bombaerts, G., Doorn, N., & Hunka, A. (2020). Creating ‘Local Publics’: Responsibility and Involvement in Decision-Making on Technologies with Local Impacts. Science and Engineering Ethics. doi:10.1007/s11948-020-00199-0

Pesch, U., Spekkink, W., & Quist, J. (2019). Local sustainability initiatives: innovation and civic engagement in societal experiments European Planning Studies, 27(2), 300-317. doi:10.1080/09654313.2018.1464549





Justice in socio-technical systems

Milchram, C., R. Künneke, N. Doorn, G. van de Kaa and R. Hillerbrand (2020). Designing for justice in electricity systems: A comparison of smart grid experiments in the Netherlands. Energy Policy. 147: 111720. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111720.

Milchram, C., G. Van der Kaa, R. Hillerbrand, N. Doorn, R. Künneke (2018). ‘Energy justice and smart grid systems: Values in public debates in the UK and the Netherlands’. Applied Energy. 229 (November): 1244-1259. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.08.053.

Milchram, C., G. van de Kaa, N. Doorn, R. Künneke (2018). ‘Moral Values as Factors for Social Acceptance of Smart Grid Technologies’. Sustainability. 10(2703): 1-23. DOI: 10.3390/su10082703.Doorn, N., Resilience indicators: Opportunities for including distributive justice concerns in disaster management. Journal of Risk Research, 2017. 20(6): p. 711-731.

Doorn, N., P. Gardoni, and C. Murphy, A Multidisciplinary Definition and Evaluation of Resilience: The Role of Social Justice in Defining Resilience. Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, 2019. 4(3): p. 112-123.

Doorn, N., Water and justice: Towards an ethics for water governance. Public Reason, 2013. 5(1): p. 95-111.

Thaler, T., S. Fuchs, S. Priest, N. Doorn (2018). ‘Social justice in the context of adaptation to climate change—reflecting on different policy approaches to distribute and allocate flood risk management’, Regional Environmental Change. 18(2): 305-309. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-017-1272-8.Doorn, N., How can resilient infrastructures contribute to social justice? -- Preface to the Special Issue of Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure on resilient infrastructures and social justice. Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, 2019. 4(3): p. 99-102.

Thaler, T., N. Doorn, and T. Hartmann, Justice of compensation for spatial flood risk management – comparing the flexible Austrian and the structured Dutch approach. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 2020(0).

Doorn, N., L. Brackel, and S. Vermeulen, Distributing Responsibilities for Climate Adaptation: Examples from the Water Domain. Sustainability, 2021. 13(7): p. 3676.

Yalew, S.G., J. Kwakkel, and N. Doorn, Distributive Justice and Sustainability Goals in Transboundary Rivers: Case of the Nile Basin. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2021. 8(590954): p. 281.



Energy justice is a concept that has gained importance in recent years. Together with colleagues, Udo Pesch has contributed to the development of the understanding of energy justice. In this work, energy justice is not featured as a normative yardstick, but as an explanation for energy controversies.

Pesch, U., Correljé, A., Cuppen, E., & Taebi, B. (2017). Energy justice and controversies: Formal and informal assessment in energy projects. Energy Policy, 109, 825-834. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2017.06.040

Pesch, U. (2021). Institutions of justice and intuitions of fairness: contesting goods, rules and inequalities. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 1-14. doi:10.1080/13698230.2021.1913887






Doorn, N., Artificial intelligence in the water domain: Opportunities for responsible use. Science of The Total Environment, 2021. 755: p. 142561.

Doorn, N., Allocating responsibility for environmental risks: An example from water governance. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 2017. 13(2): p. 371-375.

Selck, H., P.B. Adamsen, T. Backhaus, G.T. Banta, P.K.H. Bruce, G.A. Burton, M.B. Butts, E. Bøgh, J.J. Clague, K.V. Dinh, N. Doorn, J. Gunnarsson, H. Hauggaard-Nielsen, C. Hazlerigg, A. Hunka, J. Jensen, Y. Lin, S. Loureiro, S. Miraglia, W.R. Munns Jr, F. Nadim, A. Palmqvist, R.A. Rämö, L.P. Seaby, K. Syberg, S.R. Tangaa, A. Thit, R. Windfeld, M. Zalewski, and P.M. Chapman (2017). ‘Assessing and Managing Multiple Risks in a Changing World – the Roskilde Recommendations’. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 36 (1): 7-16, DOI: 10.1002/etc.3513.

Yalew, S.G., J. Kwakkel, and N. Doorn, Distributive Justice and Sustainability Goals in Transboundary Rivers: Case of the Nile Basin. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2021. 8(590954): p. 281.

Doorn, N., Do ecosystems have ethical rights? Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 2017. 13(5): p. 952-953.


The question how to have technological and economic development within ecological boundaries continues to be a subject of great importance. Udo Pesch has researched some of the most crucial aspects of this question, looking at beliefs and practices and the potential for sustainable change.

Pesch, U. (2015). Publicness, Privateness, and the Management of Pollution. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 18(1), 79-95.

Pesch, U. (2018). Paradigms and paradoxes: the futures of growth and degrowth. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 38(11/12), 1133-1146. doi:doi:10.1108/IJSSP-03-2018-0035

Pesch, U., Spekkink, W., & Quist, J. (2019). Local sustainability initiatives: innovation and civic engagement in societal experiments European Planning Studies, 27(2), 300-317. doi:10.1080/09654313.2018.1464549

Pesch, U. (2015c). Tracing discursive space: Agency and change in sustainability transitions. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 90, Part B(0), 379-388.

Pesch, U. (2020b). A reply to "Green shame: the next moral revolution?". Global Discourse, 10(2), 273-275. doi:10.1332/204378920X15785692888198

Pesch, U., Vernay, A.-L., van Bueren, E., & Pandis Iverot, S. (2017). Niche entrepreneurs in urban systems integration: On the role of individuals in niche formation. Environment and Planning A, 0308518X17705383.





Non-western approaches to political philosophy

Jing, S. and N. Doorn, Engineers’ Moral Responsibility: A Confucian Perspective. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2020. 26(1): p. 233-253.


The question of whether Confucianism is compatible with democracy and non-hierarchical society. Elena Ziliotti has researched on these issues and argued that important conciderations concerning people’ well-being (a fundamental concept of Confucian government) support democratic rule from a Confucian perspective.

Ziliotti E. 2020. “An Epistemic case for Confucian Democracy,” Critical International Review of Social and Political Philosophy. Advanced online Publication.  DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2020.1838736

Ziliotti E. 2021. “Review of Daniel A. Bell and Wang Pei’s Just Hierarchy: Why Social Hierarchies matter for China and the rest of the World,” Res Publica. Advanced online publications. DOI:  https: 10.1007/s11158-020-09493-x






Democracy & Technology

Democracy is usually viewed as a slow decision-making process. To what extend can Democracy adapt to the challenges posed by new technologies? Do new technologies require us to re-conceptualize democratic theories? In her works, Elena Ziliotti is contributing to answer these questions.

Ziliotti E. (forthcoming). “What Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Teach us about Democracy? An Analysis of Democratic Successes with Technological Experimentation”, in Matthew Dennis, Jeroen van den Hoven, Georgy Ishmaev, Steven Umbrello (eds.), Values for a Post-Pandemic Future: Ethics, Technology, and the ‘New Normal’ (Netherlands: Springer, forthcoming).






Technology and Work

Filippo Santoni de Sio has published on the future of work in the age of digital technologies

Santoni de Sio F., Almeida T., Van den Hoven J. The Future of Work: Rethinking Justice, Freedom and Capital in the age of Artificial Intelligence. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (forthcoming)