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Over onsFaculteit WijsbegeerteOrganisatieDepartment of the History of Philosophy

Research profile

What has a history cannot be defined, says Nietzsche. This makes the history of philosophy such an exciting discipline. Philosophical positions refuse easy categorization and definition. They have often tangled and twisted histories. In our department, we study these histories from Antiquity to the world of today. This requires a broad view of the subject, for problems do not arise out of the blue. They are usually shaped by developments in science, society, religion, literature and art. Philosophy was traditionally closely connected to science and religion; hence, in our research we often pay close attention to these backgrounds and intersections. But philosophy has also a history of its own, so that it it is often fruitful to compare ideas and concepts from the past with current ones, thereby enlightening not only the past but the present as well. The differences, of course, are not ignored: discontinuities and changes are as interesting as the continuities. In our research we do not like to compartmentalize the history of philosophy into its traditional periods (Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Times etc.): these are convenient labels at an elementary level, but often harmful for scholarly research.

Our department consists of a group of specialists, each with his or her own field of interest and approach. But we often draw on each other’s expertise, as we all share, too, the conviction that the study of philosophical arguments must rest on a sound textual basis, while, on the other hand, the study and editing of texts always needs an interpretative framework.  

Our research is geared towards the highest level of philosophical and historical scholarship. It has been ranked as excellent by successive national review committees, and it is considered to be at the top of Dutch philosophical departments. Our PhD-students are given a personal and intensive supervision.

In addition to monographs, we publish in a wide range of venues, usually in internationally refereed journals and collected volumes, but also, dependent on the subject and the intended audience, in more popular media and newspapers. For fuller details see the web pages of the individual members.

Since October 2015, the Department hosts the Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought . The Centre promotes research able to uncover the multifaceted nature of medieval and early modern philosophical debates, their interconnections with other areas of the history of philosophy and science, and how their legacy might still affect today’s philosophical debates.

Laatst gewijzigd:07 november 2017 10:45