Vivienne Matthies-Boon has been appointed Socrates Professor by Special Appointment in “Humanism, Europe and Global Justice" at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religion (Radboud University in Nijmegen).
In this position, Prof. dr. Vivienne Matthies-Boon will particularly focus on humanist questions of the meaning of life and the existential impact of injustice – and integrate these into debates on Global Justice and Europe. Letting experiences of injustice in the Global South shine back on Western and European conceptions of justice, redistribution and democratisation, it becomes painfully apparent that within such idealised conceptions there is a lack of serious engagement with their existential impact. Furthermore, insofar as psychology has sought to address existential impacts, it offered a particularly Westocentric, atomised and individualised conception of mental injury.
This not only pays insufficient attention to the structural social and political underpinnings of the injustice suffered, but also resulted in a double injury: the victim of injustice now also supposedly suffers from an impaired subjectivity. Rather than depoliticising and individualising the experience of injustice, Prof. dr. Matthies-Boon seeks to locate these experiences firmly within the debates on global social and political justice. Moreover, taking human suffering seriously, it also becomes apparent that any striving for global justice necessitates employing the inputs of humanist philosophy and humanist psychology. It also requires us to re-examine the universal validity and applicability of discursive theories of justice and deliberation not only in light of its inherent occidentalism and Eurocentrism, but also in light of its expansion beyond the formal political realm.