Doret J. de Ruyter

Project Co-leader


Doret de Ruyter is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In January 1988 I finished my masters in philosophy of education and clinical child and family studies at the VU (cum laude). The year thereafter I continued my education as a PhD student at the same university and defended my dissertation on state intervention in families in 1993. Since then I have worked at the VU, the Netherlands Institute for Care and Welfare (in Utrecht) and the University of Glasgow. I returned from Scotland in 2003 to become professor of Philosophy of Education at my Alma Mater. In the past years I have combined my teaching, research and supervision of PhD students with various management positions and I am currently Head of Department of the department of Educational and Family Studies.

Areas of expertise

Philosophy of education, ethical theory.


My main research interests are related in some way or the other to human flourishing as an aim of education. For the past years I have worked on the clarification of human flourishing and the educative responsibilities of parents in aiming for the flourishing of their children, the importance of ideals in education (as well as the danger of ideals – particularly radicalisation), professional ideals, and moral education as well as life’s meaning (both partly in collaboration with Anders Schinkel).  These topics are still high on my research agenda and I have recently widened my research to children whose flourishing is challenged either by their parents or by society. 

Selected publications

  • De Ruyter, D.J. (2018). Well-being and the upbringing and education of children. In P. Smeyers (Ed.) Springer International Handbook of Education.
  • De Ruyter, D.J. (2015). Well-being and education.  In: J. Suissa, C. Winstanley & R. Marples (Eds.) Education, Philosophy and Well-being: New perspectives on the work of John White (Routledge Research in Education) (84-98). London: Routledge.
  • De Ruyter, D.J. (2012). On optimal development and becoming an optimiser, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 46 (1), 25-41.
  • De Ruyter, D.J. (2007). Ideals, education and happy flourishing. Educational Theory, 57, 23-35.
  • De Ruyter, D.J. (2004). Pottering in the garden. On human flourishing and education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 52(4), 377-389.


Additional information