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Herman Philipse

Herman Philipse
At the Studium Generale of Utrecht University, 2012
Born (1951-05-13) 13 May 1951
The Hague, The Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater Leiden University
Occupation Professor of philosophy
Years active 1986–present
Employer Utrecht University
Religion None

Herman Philipse (born 13 May 1951) is a professor of philosophy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. From 1986 until 2003, he taught at Leiden University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1983.


  • Work 1
  • Selected bibliography 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4


Philipse has written many philosophical works in Dutch, including books on Husserl's early philosophy of logic, the role of certainty in Descartes' moral theory, and a widely read Atheist Manifesto (Atheistisch manifest & De onredelijkheid van religie (2004), untranslated; Eng: Atheist Manifesto and the unreasonableness of religion). In English, he has written over a dozen articles in philosophical journals, as well as a detailed assessment of Heidegger, Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. He has also written many commentaries for Dutch newspapers (most frequently as a regular contributor to the NRC Handelsblad) and current events television programs, defending atheism and advocating cultural assimilation for non-European immigrants in the Netherlands.

In his philosophical work, Philipse defends a non-reductionist naturalism, akin to that of Gilbert Ryle, Peter Strawson, and P.M.S. Hacker. While highly critical of the transcendental idealist tradition of Kant and Husserl for its allegedly incoherent notion of conceptual schemes, Philipse argues that scientistic philosophies that attempt to reduce consciousness to purely physical descriptions (such as those of Quine and Churchland) fall victim to a similar inconsistency: their theories logically depend on the concepts of ordinary human life they would abolish. More generally, Philipse firmly defends the values of the Enlightenment: support for the natural sciences and political liberalism.

Philipse's vigorous public atheism has, unsurprisingly, brought him into conflict with Islamists in the Netherlands. His 1995 Atheist Manifesto was republished in an expanded edition in 2004 with a foreword by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who partly credits the book for her shift from Islam to atheism.

Selected bibliography

  • Philipse, Herman (1995). Atheistisch manifest: Drie wijsgerige opstellen over godsdienst en moraal. Prometheus.  
  • Philipse, Herman (1998). Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. Princeton University Press.  
  • Philipse, Herman (2004). Atheïstisch manifest en De onredelijkheid van religie. Uitgeverij Prometheus.  
  • Philipse, Herman (2004). Acht Filosofische Miniaturen - Een hoorcollege over grote denkers van Plato tot Wittgenstein. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2005). Filosofen van de 20e eeuw - Een hoorcollege over acht moderne denkers. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2006). Godsdienstfilosofie - Een hoorcollege over religie tussen wonder en wetenschap. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2007). Wetenschap versus godsdienst - Een hoorcollege over grote conflicten, van Copernicus tot Dawkins. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2008). Ethiek en Evolutie - Een hoorcollege over de geschiedenis, biologie, filosofie en antropologie van de moraal. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2009). Godsgeloof of atheïsme? Een hoorcollege over de filosofische strijd der wereldbeschouwingen. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2009). Filosofische polemieken. Uitgeverij Bert Bakker.  
  • Philipse, Herman (2010). Betrouwbare kennis - Een hoorcollege over wetenschapsfilosofie in historisch perspectief. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2011). Vrijheid en verplichting - Een hoorcollege over wijsgerige ethiek, van Plato tot Levinas. Home Academy Publishers (audio-cd).  
  • Philipse, Herman (2012).  

See also

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Philipse's faculty page at Utrecht University
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