prof. dr. René van Woudenberg


I am a professor of philosophy. My areas of specialisation are epistemology and metaphysics. I did my Ph.D. with Nicholas Wolterstorff (who was at the time at Yale University), am the recipient of an Academy Research Grant (from KNAW), worked for two years at the University of Notre Dame, and was the dean of the philosophy department at VU University from Sept. 2008 through December 2012.

I am greatly interested in how ordinary knowledge relates to scientific knowledge, and in how our common sense view of the world relates to the scientific image of the world. The “Science Beyond Scientism” squares perfectly with this interest, as does the Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and the Big Questions.

Areas of Expertise

Epistemology and Metafysica: scientism, responsible belief, chance & design, the philosophy of Thomas Reid, and the relationship between philosophy, science and Christianity.


Most of my research and writing is part of “The Epistemic Responsibilities of the University” project, which is sponsored by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. Within that project I work on three topics: (1) What is the nature of the humanities, what epistemic contributions can we expect them to deliver, and how do they relate to the natural sciences. (2) Reading as a source of knowledge: what is reading? Why have epistemologists paid no attention to it? How do reading and interpretation relate? (3) What are the core epistemic responsibilities of the university?

Other projects I have been working, and that are still on my radar, are:

  • The problems of scientism
  • The epistemology and metaphysics of Thomas Reid
  • Chance, randomness and design
  • Responsible belief
  • Christianity and philosophy

Recent publications

For an overview of my published work you may consult my personal website.



Additional Information

Personal website & CV