PhD Scholarship 'Resistance to Isaac Newton in the Dutch Republic'
1 - Working at the VUB
For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for
freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our
campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you'll find a
diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people
who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees , we are
the largest Dutch-speaking employer in Brussels , an international city
with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four
campuses are located.
Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research
with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative
argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for
this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.
The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee
fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the
university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.
The mission of the university includes:
the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing
academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in
2 - Position description
The Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte , Department History, Archeology,
Arts, Philosophy and Ethics , is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral
More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate ,
Within the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science you will carry out
research in the context of the recently awarded EOS-project ‘Responses to
Newton's Mathematical-Experimental Paradigm in 18th-Century Philosophy'
(RENEW18). This EOS project is funded by the Belgian research councils FWO
and F.R.S.-FNRS and led by Karin de Boer (KU Leuven), Steffen Ducheyne
(Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Arnaud Pelletier (Université libre de
Bruxelles). More information on the project can be found at
https: // hiw.kuleuven.be/cmprpc/renew18. You will work on the subproject
‘Resistance to Isaac Newton in the Dutch Republic' under the supervision of
Prof. dr. Steffen Ducheyne. In addition to conducting independent research,
you are expected to participate in the organization of common activities such
as team meetings, talks, workshops, and conferences as well as to take up a
modest teaching load. The working language is English.
More on the subproject: ‘With towering figures such as Herman Boerhaave,
Willem Jacob 's Gravesande and Petrus van Musschenbroek, the Dutch Republic is
often considered to have rapidly welcomed Isaac Newton's natural philosophical
works and methods. This view neglects the fact that Newton's natural
philosophical work and methods were also heavily criticised in the Dutch
Republic. For instance, in 1718 Ruardus Andala attacked Boerhaave's ‘Sermo
academicus de comparando certo in physicis' (1715). Later Nicolaas
Hartsoeker and Nicolaus Engelhard also attacked Newton's work. These
interesting figures are nowadays mostly forgotten. The primary aim of this
project is to gain more understanding of the ideas and arguments of the
abovementioned anti-Newtonians (or of that of other Dutch anti-Newtonians).'
For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus
(Elsene) will serve as your home base.
3 - Profile
What do we expect from you?
You hold a master's degree in Philosophy or another diploma that is relevant
for the subproject under consideration (e.g. History, Religious Studies,
You have good knowledge of the history of modern philosophy;
You hold excellent command of written and spoken English;
You have excellent writing skills;
You have outstanding hermeneutical and analytical skills;
Knowledge of Latin or Dutch, or experience with archive work is a plus.
You have not performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an
assistant, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated)
period of more than 12 months.
4 - Offer
Are you going to be our new colleague?
You'll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship , for 12 months
(extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of
the PhD activities), with planned starting date 01/02/2023 , but a later
starting date can be considered.
You'll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.
IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to
the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the
At the VUB, you're guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where
you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.
As well as this, you'll enjoy various benefits:
Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport
according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
Cost-free hospitalisation insurance ;
The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
Excellent facilities for sport and exercise ;
Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants ;
An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-
life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of
leave (based on a fulltime contract).
5 - Interested?
Is this the job you've been dreaming of?
Send us ONLINE and at the latest on 10/12/2022 :
your CV, including a publication list, if available, and the names and
contact details of two referees;
your letter of motivation, including a research statement (max. 1 à 2
explains how your past research bears on the advertized subproject and the project as a whole;
sketches your approach to the topic of the subproject;
a writing sample (15 à 25 pages);
the highest degree you've attained, including your academic transcript.
Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Prof. dr. Steffen
Ducheyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +3226292784.
Would you like to know what it's like to work at the VUB? Go to
www. vub.ac.be/vacatures and find all there is to know about our
campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.