Prof. dr. mr. Herman Philipse


Herman Philipse (D Phil (Leiden) 1983) took up a University Professorship (distinguished professorship) in philosophy at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, in September 2003. He was previously Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leiden (1985-2003), Assistant Professor in Philosophy at that university (1978-85), and Research Assistant at the Husserl Archives, University of Louvain, Belgium (1977-78). He has been chairman (decaan) of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Leiden four times, and enjoyed many visiting scholarships at the universities of Princeton (1995, 1997), Oxford (mostly as a visiting fellow of St. John’s College; giving 8 guest lectures during each Trinity Term in 2001-2011, for example), and, as Sugden Fellow of Queen’s College, University of Melbourne (in 2014), teaching a PhD-elective course at that university. Furthermore, he obtained various research grants, such as most recently a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO for the research programme Evolutionary Ethics (2014-2019; co-applicant Prof. Johan Bolhuis), which financed two PhD-students and two post-docs. The programme has been completed successfully in 2019. Given his age, Prof. Philipse had to retire on November 13th, 2016, but fortunately Utrecht University decided that he could continue his job as a distinguished professor at one day a week until November 2021.

            As a student, he read Dutch law at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands (Master’s 1973), and studied philosophy at the universities of Leiden (Master’s cum laude Leiden 1974), Oxford (grant for Hilary Term, 1973), Paris IV (2 year grant by the French State; with access to the ENS in Paris, 1974-6), and Cologne (DAAD grant for one year, 1976-7). He obtained his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Leiden (Husserls fundering van de logica, 1983) and is the author of Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being. A Critical Interpretation (Princeton University Press, 1998), of books in Dutch, such as Atheïstisch Manifest/De onredelijkheid van religie (Bert Bakker, 2004), and of numerous philosophical articles, such as ‘The Absolute Network Theory of Language’ (Inquiry 33, 1990: 127-178), ‘Towards a Postmodern Conception of Metaphysics (Metaphilosophy 25, 1994: 1-44), ‘Transcendental Idealism’ (The Cambridge Companion to Husserl, 1995: 239-322); ‘A Defence of Empiricism’ (Ratio XIII, 2000: 239-255 and Ratio XIV, 2001: 33-55); ‘Heideggers philosophisch-religiöse Strategie’ (Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 57, 2003: 571-588); ‘The Phenomenological Movement’ (The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945, 2003: 477-496); and ‘Overcoming Epistemology’ (The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy, 2007: 334-378), etc. (see the list of publications). In 2007 he published a critical analysis of the textualist doctrine of interpretation defended by Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court: ‘Antonin Scalia’s Textualism in Philosophy, Theology, and Judicial Interpretation of the Constitution’, Utrecht Law Review 3, 2: 1-24, and in February 2012 Oxford University Press published his most recent book God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason (205.000 words; paperback edition 2014).           

Apart from his scholarly writings, Herman Philipse published many articles on philosophy in Dutch for a wider audience. From 2003 onwards until 2017, he also published each year a series of lectures in Dutch on Compact Disk or download (published by Home Academy Publishers) on various philosophical topics. Furthermore, apart from his regular teaching at Utrecht University, he gives many guest-lectures each year elsewhere in The Netherlands and abroad, such as a lecture series at Peking University, Bejing (2012), and a PhD-elective course at the University of Melbourne (2014).