Han van Ruler obtains NWO Open Competition – SSH grant

Professor Han van Ruler of Erasmus School Philosophy is awarded with a NWO Open Competition - SSH grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).  This grant, of up to 750,000 euros, aims to promote excellent non-programmed, curiosity-driven research with primarily social sciences- or humanities-related research questions and problem statements. 

The awarded NWO Open Competition – SSH project of Prof. Han van Ruler is called ‘Decoding Descartes’ and unravels the ideas of the founder of modern philosophy and science René Descartes (1596-1650) in response to contemporary deadlocks in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. By reevaluating Descartes' work and correspondence, his project demonstrates that Descartes is still decisively relevant for contemporary debates in multiple disciplines from humanities to neuroscience.

Han van Ruler is Professor of Intellectual History and Programme Director at Erasmus School of Philosophy. Since 2011, he is the editor-in-chief of the prestigious book series Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History. Van Ruler has published extensively on Descartes and on seventeenth-century natural philosophy. He is the former scientific director of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy OZSW (2014–2018).

In this NWO project Han van Ruler will (among others) collaborate with Dr. Erik-Jan Bos, a historian of Early Modern philosophy and the 17th century Republic of Letters at Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus School of Philosophy. He is an expert of the French philosopher and scientist René Descartes and his contemporaries. Bos is editor-in-chief of the new edition of Descartes' correspondence (Oxford University Press).

Currently the preparation of the Oxford edition of Descartes’ letters by Bos, is made possible through a joint initiative of the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science of Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmus School of Philosophy and the Erasmus Trustfonds. Because of the NWO Open Competition – SSH recognition the eight-volume edition of Descartes’ correspondence is ensured and will be published in the years to come.

Adhemare de Rijk, funding manager research at Erasmus School of Philosophy, is proud of the amazing achievement of Han and Erik-Jan: “It was an absolute pleasure to be working with them during the whole process. I am very happy to see that the importance of the Descartes project and the expertise of both researchers are acknowledged.”