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Yannic Vitz

Undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Social and Economic History at Georg-August-University Göttingen and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (BA 2017). Graduate studies in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (MSc 2019). Further graduate studies in Philosophy at Humboldt-University Berlin (MA 2021) while stipendiary of the Deutschlandstipendium.

Various employments at political foundations, private companies and public institutions as well as charity work.

Since October 2021 doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, Free University Berlin and member of the DFG-funded research training group 2638 Normativity, Critique, Change. Spring term 2023 Visiting Fellow at the Department of Government at Harvard University. PhD project supervised by Stefan Gosepath (FU) and Thomas Schmidt (HU).

Merit and Social Equality (Working Title)

This research project engages with the moral limits of merit-based reward systems. At its core, the PhD project is concerned with objectionable meritocratic attitudes as they are alleged to erode the common good and foster socioeconomic inequality. The project proceeds by analyzing the concept of desert (or merit) as a principle of distributive justice. It stipulates that a conceptual analysis of desert as principle of distributive justice illuminates the theoretical underpinnings of meritocratic attitudes. In particular, how desert allows for and promotes objectionable social hierarchies. According social relations between believed inferiors and superiors may, e.g., be based on the dominant values of a given social group regarding what is considered a valuable or productive contribution, to result in the belief that some are more deserving than others due to their ability to make a social contribution.

In my PhD project, I argue that desert as principle of distributive justice engenders a problematic dependence of the right on the good. Three specific arguments substantiate this result. The arguments, respectively, build on current debates in distributive justice, attributions of responsibility in desert claims about people’s deservingness, and the principle of fittingness as it operates in ascriptions of what individuals are deserving of. As a result, I demonstrate that desert channels claims about what is valuable into claims of justice, and therefore promotes the view that a distribution of claims to rewards reflects people’s value or worth. I contend that this should be rejected, because it demonstrates how the right is based on the good in an objectionable way.

Research Interests

  • moral philosophy (egalitarianism, relational/social equality, deontological ethics and contractualism, fairness & competition, debates around desert, moral responsibility, blame and hypocrisy)
  • political philosophy/theory
  • feminist philosophy
  • social philosophy
  • applied ethics, intersection between philosophy and public policy


  • Vitz, Yannic (2021): “Applaus, Applaus! Über eine Ethik des Lobes und moralisch unangemessenen Applaus,“ in Romy Jaster & Geert Keil (ed.), Nachdenken über Corona, Stuttgart: Reclam, p. 121-132.
  • Vitz, Yannic (2019): “'Having Too Much' and Libertarian Freedom” Rerum Causae, 11 (1), pp. 57–69. [https://rc.lse.ac.uk/articles/abstract/167/]



  • “The Axiology of Desert,” presented at the 5th Workshop for Political Philosophy, Düsseldorf, May 26, 2023.
  • “Applaus, Applaus! Über eine Ethik des Lobes und moralisch unangemessenen Applaus,“ Presented at the Research Colloquium, Chair of Philosophical Anthropology Geert Keil, Humboldt-University Berlin, Berlin, November 19, 2020.
  • “Applaus und Covid 19,” Presented at the Research Colloquium, Chair of Practical Philosophy Kirsten Meyer, Humboldt-University Berlin, Berlin, July 13, 2020.
  • “Realising Luck Egalitarianism,” Presented at the Research Colloquium, Chair of Practical Philosophy Kirsten Meyer, Humboldt-University Berlin, Berlin, November 25, 2019.
  • “Realising Luck Egalitarianism: Risk, Open Counterfactuals, and Community,” Presented at the 6th Student Philosophy Conference [Bundesfachschaftentagung], Düsseldorf, September 20, 2019.
  • “’Having Too Much’ and Libertarian Freedom,” Presented at the 7th LSE-Bayreuth Student Philosophy Conference, London, May 2, 2019.
Freie Universität Berlin
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Universität der Künste Berlin