Martin van Hees, born in Beilen, the Netherlands, in 1964. Ph.D. from the Radboud University Nijmegen. Professor of Ethics at the University of Groningen.
Fellow (1 September 2006 – 31 January 2007)
THE FORMAL ANALYSIS OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOM
My research formed part of the ‘Games, Action and Social Software’ (GASS) research project. The aim of the GASS-project was to bring together researchers from different areas (logic, game theory, social choice, information sciences) in order to explore the connections between the disciplines mentioned. Van Hees’s research in the project concentrated on the role that normative considerations play in the construction and evaluation of social decision mechanisms. In particular, the emphasis was put on pushing forward the analysis of rights and freedom, and thus the formal analysis of individual and collective decision making, by focusing on two different (but related) issues. The first part of the research concerned the development of a game-theoretic analysis of rights in which intentions are incorporated and which thus yields a more realistic (and more useful) formal account of the role that rights play in processes of individual and collective decision making. The second part of the research objective concerned the formal analysis of the freedom of individual agents as they are situated in a social setting. Stated differently, the objective was to shift the analysis from the existing measurement of freedom of choice to that of freedom of action.