René van Woudenberg

“Whoever says something that has never been said before,
will probably say something that will never be said again!”

René van Woudenberg

© 2014 - R. van Woudenberg


I am a professor of philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where I teach Epistemology and Metaphysics. Since 2013 I am also the director of the Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and the Big Questions.


Research areas

My research is on the following topics: scientism, responsible belief, chance & design, the philosophy of Thomas Reid, and the relation between philosophy, science and Christianity.


Responsibilities of the University

From 2016-2019 I am the director of a large research project on "The Epistemic Responsibilities of the University", sponsored by the Templetom World Charity Foundation. This project seeks to investigate, defend, and reinvigorate the epistemic responsibilities of the university. Its central question is: ‘What are the epistemic values that the modern university ought to uphold, what responsibilities flow from these, and how can it meet these responsibilities in the face of contemporary challenges?’



From 2013-2016 I have been the director of a large research project on "Science Beyond Scientism", sponsored by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. Well over 20 persons worked in this project: post docs, PhD candidates and post grads. We have worked, broadly speaking, on the question whether science can answer philosophy's Big Questions about free will, morality, rational action and God.



I have studied Linguistics, Literature and Philosophy in Amsterdam. After having received my Ph.D. (my supervisor was Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University) I obtained a lavish grant from the Royal Dutch Academy of the Arts and Sciences ('Academy Fellowship') for work in epistemology. I have spent research leaves at the wonderful Philosophy Department of Notre Dame. From 2008-2013 I was the Dean of the Philosophy Department of VU University.