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Jeroen de Ridder appointed as URC Professor

26 June 2023
The Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has appointed philosopher Jeroen de Ridder as professor of Political Epistemology in the Faculty of Humanities, effective from September 1, 2023, in the University Research Chair program (URC).

Through the URC program, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam acknowledges exceptional scholars who are considered to be future leaders in their fields. VU Amsterdam congratulates Jeroen de Ridder and is delighted with his appointment to the University Research Chair.

Knowledge in society
De Ridder's chair revolves around the philosophy of knowledge in society, or, using a philosophical term, political epistemology. Questions about reliable information and knowledge are prevalent. How can our democratic institutions become smarter by drawing on the experiences and insights of both citizens and experts? How can the integrity and reliability of research be improved? And, equally important, what is disinformation and in what ways is information weaponized to undermine knowledge and sow confusion? De Ridder states, "Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, has emerged from the ivory tower in recent years and is now more focused on urgent issues in society: knowledge and policy, polarization, disinformation, research integrity, and open science. Interdisciplinary work is increasingly becoming the norm as a result. This doesn't always make research easier, but it does make it more enjoyable and relevant!"

'Translational philosophy'
The chair is embedded within the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities and the Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and the Big Questions. The research conducted there is socially engaged and relates to the VU profile themes of Connected World and Governance for Society. De Ridder explains, "I believe that philosophical assumptions and values make a real difference in research and beyond. This aligns with the legacy of Abraham Kuyper, the founder of VU Amsterdam. My ideal is to engage in 'translational philosophy': to take fundamental philosophical discussions and think about how they can be made fruitful for everyday practices. This is also our goal in a new center for Research Integrity and Open Science (RIOS), which I am starting together with Mariƫtte van den Hoven from Amsterdam UMC."

De Ridder obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Delft University of Technology in 2007. In 2010, he received a Veni grant from NWO for a project on the commercialization of science, and in 2015, he was awarded a Vidi grant for research on how democracy can become wiser. Along with others, he has also received three large grants from the Templeton World Charity Foundation for research on scientism and the limits of scientific knowledge, the responsibilities of the university, and scientific progress. In 2019, he was appointed as an professor by special appointment of Christian philosophy at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen. From 2017 to 2022, he was a member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and from 2020 to 2022, he served as its chair. In 2022, he became a board member of the Domain Board for Social Sciences and Humanities at NWO.