About me

I am an assistant professor in history and philosophy of science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. I grew up in the Netherlands, received an MSc degree from the London School of Economics and obtained a PhD from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. Before coming to Copenhagen, I held a post-doc in the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities at Utrecht University. I have been a visiting fellow at several other research institutes and universities, including at the Australian National University, the Egenis Centre for the Life Sciences at the University of Exeter, the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research near Vienna, and the Humanities Institute of the New York Botanical Garden (as Andrew W. Mellon Fellow).

I specialize in history and philosophy of biology. In my research I combine philosophical analysis with historical case studies while paying close attention to scientific practice. I am currently carrying out the research project The Nature of Naming and the Naming of Nature (2017-2022), for which I received a VENI early career research grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and a Pegasus Marie-Curie Grant from the Flemish Science Foundation (not taken up). I have also been co-PI for the research project Productive Ambiguity in Classification (2018-2021), together with philosophers, historians, taxonomists and bio-informaticians from Arizona State University. For both projects I have studied taxonomic principles and practices of naming and reference fixing. I published an explainer video on some of this work with colleagues from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

In April 2022, I started the 4-year research project Tackling the Conservationist’s Dilemma. This project is sponsored by a Sapere Aude research leader grant from the Danish Research Council (DFF). This research project will study how to best navigate the epistemic and ethical tensions between science and policy making at the interface between biological taxonomy species conservation action.

Some of my other research interests are in scientific explanation, the history and philosophy of evolutionary theory (in particular modern synthesis historiography and its philosophical dimensions), and the evolution of cooperation, cognition, and morality.

I am an Associate Editor for Acta Biotheoretica and serve on the Editorial Board of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. I am also a Council Member of the International Society for the History Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology.

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