Abraham Kuyper Center

dr. Rik Peels


I studied philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Notre Dame (IN, USA), and theology at the Theological University Apeldoorn and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Subsequently, I did my PhD at Utrecht University with Herman Philipse, on what it is to believe responsibly. In 2011, I did research for my dissertation at Oxford University as an associate member of Merton College. Since September 2012, I am a teacher and researcher at the Vrije Universiteit, working on the limits of science and, as of September 1st 2016, the epistemic responsibilities of the university. Also, from 2011 to 2014, I was the European Director of the Veritas Forum, an international organization which hosts conversations and debates at universities about science and the big questions of life. Apart from philosophy and theology, I love sea fishing and trout fishing, sailing, painting, English literature, history (WW2), making and eating Sushi, drinking Scotch with friends, playing the guitar, and traveling. I live in Amsterdam.

Areas of expertise

Epistemology; Ethics; Meta-ethics; Philosophy of religion; Philosophy of science


I’m currently working on two research projects:
Science beyond Scientism (2012-2016). Within this research project, I provide various arguments against scientism – roughly, the idea that only natural science delivers true knowledge – and provide an alternative epistemological model of the relation between beliefs based on science and other beliefs. In doing so, I focus on what one should do when the results of science clash with common sense beliefs.

The Epistemic Responsibilities of the University (2016-2019). In this project, I aim to answer the following question: What are the main epistemic values that the university ought to uphold and how are they reflected in the different methods that the various academic disciplines employ? In order to provide a clear articulation and defense of the university’s epistemic values, and in order to provide tools that help university leaders and policy makers to meet epistemic responsibilities that issue from these values, it is important to first get a firmer conceptual grip on these values. For, universities can meet their epistemic responsibilities only if it is sufficiently clear what epistemic phenomena are valuable and worthwhile pursuing, as well as how these values relate to each other, both in research and teaching. In my research, I carry out the conceptual groundwork that will be employed in each of the other projects of The Epistemic Responsibilities of the University.



Rik Peels. (2016). Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology (New York: Oxford University Press)
Rik Peels, ed. (2016). Perspectives on Ignorance from Moral and Social Philosophy (London: Routledge)
Rik Peels and Martijn Blaauw, eds. (2016). The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels, René van Woudenberg, eds. (2017). Scientism: A Philosophical Exposition and Evaluation (New York: Oxford University Press), forthcoming

Articles (selection)
  • Rik Peels. (2016). “Epistemic Justification and Responsible Belief”, Synthese, forthcoming
  • Rik Peels. (2016). “The Empirical Case against Introspection”, Philosophical Studies, forthcoming
  • Rik Peels. (2015). “Believing at Will Is Possible”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy3, 524-541
  • Rik Peels. (2015). “Does God Have a Sense of Humor?”, Faith and Philosophy3, 271-292
  • Rik Peels. (2015). “A Modal Solution to the Problem of Moral Luck”, American Philosophical Quarterly1, 73-87
  • Rik Peels. (2014). “Against Doxastic Compatibilism”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research3, 679-702
  • Rik Peels. (2014). “What Kind of Ignorance Excuses? Two Neglected Issues”, Philosophical Quarterly256, 478-496
  • Rik Peels, Anthony Booth. (2014). “Why Responsible Belief Is Permissible Belief”, Analytic Philosophy1, 75-88
  • Rik Peels. (2013). “Does Doxastic Responsibility Entail the Ability to Believe Otherwise?”, Synthese17, 3651-3669
  • Rik Peels. (2013). “Belief-Policies Cannot Ground Doxastic Responsibility”, Erkenntnis3, 561-569
  • Anthony Booth, Rik Peels. (2010). “Why Responsible Belief Is Blameless Belief”, The Journal of Philosophy 5, 157-165
 Book chapters (selection)
  • Rik Peels. (2017). “A Conceptual Map of Scientism”, in Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels, and René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: A Philosophical Exposition and Evaluation (New York: Oxford University Press), forthcoming
  • Rik Peels. (2016). “Scientism and the Basing Problem”, in Maarten Boudry and Massimo Pigliucci (eds.), Science Unlimited? The Challenges of Scientism (Chicago: Chicago University Press), forthcoming
  • Rik Peels. (2016). “Ignorance”, in Tim Crane (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London: Routledge), forthcoming
  • Pierre Le Morvan and Rik Peels. (2016). “The Nature of Ignorance: Two Views”, in Rik Peels and Martijn Blaauw (eds.), The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
  • Rik Peels. (2016). “Can God Repent?”, in Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion VII (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 190-212
  • Nikolaj Nottelmann and Rik Peels. (2013). “Some Metaphysical Implications of a Credible Ethics of Belief”, in Nikolaj Nottelmann (ed.), New Essays on Belief: Constitution, Content, and Structure (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), 230-250


Mail h.d.peels@vu.nl

Additional Information

Personal website
Academia.edu: Rik Peels
Facebook: Rik Peels
Linked-in: Rik Peels
Researchgate: Rik Peels
Twitter: @RikPeels