Meet the new ESPhil colleague: Dogukan Ozturkoglu

Dogukan Ozturkoglu is a new PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Philosophy. We would like to welcome Dogukan in the ESPhil community and would like to introduce him.

Where are you from?

I am from Istanbul, Turkey.

Where did you do your studies/What did you study?

In Istanbul, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Maltepe University. I became acquainted with the Dutch university system already as an undergraduate student. I benefited from the Erasmus exchange programme to spend a year of my undergraduate studies in Nijmegen, where I attended the Radboud University. The research-oriented education system there impressed me as a bachelor student. That was one of the reasons why I chose a Dutch university later on.

I completed a research master’s degree at the University of Groningen. The history of philosophy department at Groningen is mainly specialised in the early modern period, which suited my interests well. I wrote my master’s thesis on the moral philosophy of Descartes. I discussed how Descartes’ discoveries in science and metaphysics influenced his moral theory. 

Why did you choose Erasmus School of Philosophy to do your PhD?

First of all, Erasmus School of Philosophy is a renowned institution. It is also home to a vivid community of Descartes scholars. The Decoding Descartes project, within which I am appointed as a PhD candidate, brings together great scholars. I am happy to partake in this project and work with Han van Ruler and Erik-Jan Bos, amongst others. This project and the chance to work with reputable philosophers were the main reasons why I chose ESPhil.

What is your research about?

My research will concern Descartes’ contribution to the modern worldview through his new philosophy. I will discuss Descartes’ epistemology in detail by showing its relevance for our day. I will explore how Descartes distinguished the domain of science that explains natural processes from the world of common sense depending solely on experience, thereby paving the way for modern science. I will also research the importance of experiments in Descartes’ philosophy, and I will try to elucidate how they differ from the common-sense experience.

What are your expectations of the PhD?

 Primarily, during my PhD project, I expect to develop my skills and expand my knowledge. Also, as a result of my research, I hope to contribute to the dismantling of a pervasive myth concerning Descartes. He is often portrayed as an armchair philosopher for whom speculations played a more critical role than experiments. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What are your first impressions of the Erasmus University and the city Rotterdam?

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, I could not see the university yet. It does not change the fact that my first impressions of the university are quite positive. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the university staff was incredibly helpful and responsive. Besides, the Decoding Descartes team was always in touch. Hopefully, this crisis will be over soon so that I will be able to meet the rest of the department.