Summer Seminar in Science and the Big Questions

August 18, 2014 - August 21, 2014
VU University Amsterdam


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Does contemporary empirical psychology refute the idea that we are rational beings who make choices for reasons that we are aware of?
Do evolutionary explanations of morality imply that there is no objective good and evil?
Is human consciousness an illusion? And can free will be explained away?

Scientists and philosophers of different persuasions will give lectures and engage each other on the following issues:

- Decision theory and rationality

- Evolution and morality

- Brain research and consciousness

- Free will

- The nature of explanations in science, philosophy, and everyday life

Confirmed speakers

Pim Haselager (Radboud University)

André Aleman (University of Groningen)

Susan Blackmore (freelance writer and lecturer)

Richard Swinburne (University of Oxford)

Marc Slors (Radboud University)

David Widerker (Bar-Ilan University)
Janet Radcliffe - Richards (University of Oxford)

Terence Cuneo (University of Vermont)
Victor Gijsbers (Leiden University)

Shaun Gallagher (University of Memphis)

Gerrit Glas (VU University Amsterdam)

William Bechtel (University of California)

For whom?

(1) advanced Bachelor and Master students, PhD-students, postdocs, and faculty members in the sciences who have an interest in philosophical issues related to their scientific work and (2) advanced Bachelor and Master students, PhD-students, postdocs, and faculty members in philosophy and theology who have an interest in speaking knowledgeably about the intersection between science on the one hand and big philosophical topics, such as morality, on the other.

Practical information

Location: VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, the Netherlands

Costs:  the seminar fee is €100,- for (PHD-)students and €200 for others.

This includes lunches, dinners, and a canal tour through the old city of Amsterdam.
Registration: by using the online registration form on our website you register for the whole 4-day seminar.

Please contact us if you wish to register for separate days (a minimum of 2 is required).

Seminar website

Please visit the website of the Abraham Kuyper Center ( for the complete program. 

Contact details

For registration enquiries or other questions please contact us:


T: 0031(0)205981500

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