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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: Grant scheme on "Science Beyond Scientism", Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS

Request For Proposals - Research project: Science Beyond Scientism

 The Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion under the direction of 
Ren van Woudenberg welcomes proposals to investigate scientism and its 
manifestations in research into free will, moral belief formation and 
moral character, rational decision-making, and religious belief. The 
research project Science beyond Scientism is embedded in the research of 
the Theoretical Philosophy section of the Department of Philosophy at VU 
University Amsterdam. VU University Amsterdam is an accredited research 
university with excellent library and other research facilities.


 Applicants may request up to 35,000 euros for projects not to exceed one 
year in duration and to be conducted in a period somewhere between January 
2014 and December 2015.

 Project description

 Scientism is the view that science, and science alone, can give us 
knowledge, tell us what exists, and answer our moral, existential, and 
religious questions. Scientism is rampant in contemporary intellectual 
culture: it is assumed and endorsed in- and outside academia by 
influential scientists and philosophers writing about evolutionary theory, 
genetics, brain science, psychology, and philosophy. From there, scientism 
also wields influence on various social and professional practices, such 
as medicine, law, education, religion, and child rearing. We think 
scientism is not only false, but also harmful. False, because there are 
other sources of knowledge besides science. Harmful, because it undermines 
notions that are central to human self-understanding and flourishing, and 
to various social and professional practices; notions such as free will, 
rational decision-making, moral character, and religious belief.

 A representative but non-exhaustive list of questions that are addressed 
in this project includes:

 - How is scientism best characterized and what arguments can be given against or in favor of it?
 - How does scientism manifest itself in empirical research on free will, morality, rationality, and religious belief?
 - What is the impact of scientism on science and society? E.g., how does it affect the practice of science and professional contexts, such as the legal and medical practice?
 - What is the relation between scientific knowledge and other things that have traditionally been seen as sources of knowledge, such as common sense, introspection, rational intuition, moral intuition, etc.? What is an appropriate epistemological framework to understand this relation?
 - What is the relation between knowledge and understanding and/or wisdom? What are the epistemic virtues manifested in science and do they differ from those in other cognitive and intellectual pursuits?

 The complete project description can be found online:


 By the date of appointment, candidates must have received the degree of 
Ph.D. (or equivalent). Applications should be emailed to with the following 

    *   CV
    *   A writing sample (5000 words maximum). Excerpts from a larger piece are acceptable.
    *   A proposal (1000 words max) outlining the research to be undertaken while a research fellow on the project.
    *   A cover letter which indicates how the research to be conducted coheres with the project as a whole.
    *   The names of two academic referees.

 Application deadline: December 15, 2013. Applications will be evaluated by 
the project's core team members. The final selection round will include an 
interview. Applicants selected for an interview will be informed no later 
than January 31, 2014 by e-mail. Applicants residing outside The 
Netherlands will be interviewed via telephone / Skype. Please note that 
the grants are awarded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation and that 
grant awardees will not be formally employed by VU University Amsterdam.

 For additional information please contact:

 Prof. Dr. R. van Woudenberg
 phone +31 20 5986678