Podcast – “Don’t know. Ask!”

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!

Some of the topics discussed:
What are good ‪#‎questions‬? True friendship is with those who are different from yourself. How we don’t see the other for what they have to offer us: their otherness. The importance of boring questions. Collaboration and Bahá’í consultation. And about the need for humbleness.

This link takes you directly to the podcast: http://word-and-deed.org/…/collaboration-booster-episode-4…/

To create something new we need the radical other

Vrouwelijke filosofe

Als vrouwelijke filosofe behoor ik tot meerdere minderheden. Dat merkte ik al op de filosofische faculteit die vol met testosteron de meningen die het hardst over de tafel vliegen toch altijd weer hogere cijfers geven. Dat ik op een keer een 10 kreeg bij een vak politieke filosofie leek mij een foute zaak, waarom kreeg die jongen die altijd overal bij was en de grootste mond had niet zoals altijd het hoogste cijfer? Tsja, er was zowaar een vrouwelijke docent die de antwoorden en mijn zoektocht naar de waarheid en het goede wel op waarde kon schatten. Misschien had ik toen iets door moeten hebben. Continue reading “Vrouwelijke filosofe”

Column: Onze fascinatie voor verandering en levenskunst

Ergens staat het me nog altijd tegen, de term “levenskunst”. Het invulling geven aan het leven, gezien vanuit het individu. De laatste tijd zijn er mooie boeken over de opkomst van dit fenomeen verschenen, zoals het boek van De Academie voor Levenskunst: “Aanwijzingen voor het goede leven“. Toch vraag ik me af waar we nu eigenlijk mee bezig zijn, als we ons bezig houden met levenskunst. En dat heeft alles te maken met mijn werk omtrent het begrip ‘veranderen’.

Continue reading “Column: Onze fascinatie voor verandering en levenskunst”

Publication: Paper on Responsbility for Radical Change in addressing Climate Change

Paper by Nicole des Bouvrie*, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen & Nigel Jollands,
published online in ‘Carbon Management’ (2015).


To radically address the problem of climate change, it is not enough to modify specific attitudes and behaviors while upholding the present paradigms. This article aims to show why modifications will never bring about radical carbon emission reductions. We discuss what it implies to desire radical change, using contemporary philosophy as a method. We argue that a key requirement to achieve radical emission reductions is that we as human beings adopt responsibility that brings with it a continuous commitment to the process of change. Acting on the new understanding of responsibility as an internal mindset toward the bringing about of radical change requires a cooperative decision-making model and a new understanding of leadership.

Full paper and more information here, on the website of Carbon Management.


Beyond the prejudice of philosophy

Translation of published article on Zinweb.

Having finished my master of philosophy at one of the Dutch universities, I often find myself confronted with prejudices against philosophy, both in the world and the job market. The discussion about closing one of the faculties of philosophy in the Netherlands (Earsmus University Rotterdam) has brought them all to the surface once more. Here is my response.

Continue reading “Beyond the prejudice of philosophy”

Only one question

Writing on the impossible, inevitably leads back to Albert Camus:

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.


Whether the earth or the sun revolves around the other is a matter of profound indifference. To tell the truth, it is a futile question. On the other hand, I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.” Opening lines of ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, orig. 1940.

Interesting how the ethical is for Camus a profoundly ontological question, as it is for me.

Albert Camus

On Being, a Philosopher

Some time ago I’ve started calling myself ‘philosopher’. Something which is ridiculous, as any nobody could do so. (And unfortunately there are too many nobodies who do just that…) But most people wouldn’t think about labeling themselves ‘philosopher’, perhaps because it is a disgraceful, unproductive profession without economic benefits. Which is true.

But so far, my experience has been rather positive. I’ve not been attacked because of it. I’ve been called one of the French persuasion – which I forgive them, with a slight smile. But no-one has asked me as to why I define myself as such. In the beginning I used to half-jokingly say that being a philosopher is not a protected trade, but I stopped doing that when even that didn’t provoke a response.

Perhaps people are truly uninterested. Which could be a good sign if it would be taken as a general matter, but people do seem to be interested to define my gender, work experience and acquaintance. People are interested in what defines me as being different, and less valuable.

Perhaps it’s only me but when I read a newspaper article written by ‘philosopher’ Eva Jacobs (Volkskrant, 06/02/2014) which is devoid of a single philosophical argument, I get angry. Not because people are not allowed to have ridiculous (feminist) opinions – I live in a country where these are allowed, unfortunately – but because nobody seems to care that the word ‘philosopher’ still means something other than having finished some kind of university education in philosophical subjects. I get angry, and to no avail.

I profess a philosophy that is beyond descriptive practices, that dares to say ‘no’, that chooses the impossible. And I will stand by that, or die trying.