Lukas M. Verburgt   



*Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society*

*Recipient of a 2022 Early Career Award from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)* 

*Organizer of the History of Knowledge Seminar Series*

*Creator of interview-series on the future of history for the Dutch Review of Books*

I am currently a Gerda Henkel Stiftung Research Scholar, and affiliated as Research & Project Associate to the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS). I’m the author of some 25 journal articles and (co-)editor of several edited volumes and special issues. For the Dutch Review of Books, I run the interview series ‘Toekomstgeschiedenis’ (’Future History’)

My main field of expertise is the historical development of science and philosophy in modern Europe, with a focus on the Anglophone world, from the early 19th century to our 21st-century present.  

One of my central research aims is to understand major shifts in the nature and limits of scientific and philosophy knowledge, focusing on changes in disciplinary culture and epistemic norms. Why, how and where do humans produce knowledge? These questions have also led me to engage new paths of historical scholarship, dealing for instance with the creation of ignorance and changing perceptions of what is unknown and unknowable.  
Recent work has focused, for instance, on the transformation of natural philosophy into the sciences, the rise of philosophy as an academic discipline, and the Kantian legacy in British science and mathematics.  
I am also active as a historian of philosophy of science and history of science. Here, my central interest lies in probing the ways in which these fields have contributed to shaping their object of research - science - in the period from their emergence at the turn of the 20th century up to the present. Some of my recent publications deal with historiographical questions about the why and how of writing history of science in the 21st century.  

I obtained my PhD in Philosophy (2015) from the University of Amsterdam, where I also worked as a Lecturer for several years. Between 2021-2022 I was an Individual Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. Previously, I was an NWO VENI Postdoctoral Researcher at the Freudenthal Institute, History and Philosophy of Science, at Utrecht University with a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 2017-2021. 

I have held visiting research positions at Leiden University, Trinity College, Cambridge, the Department for History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge, the Vossius Center, University of Amsterdam, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin


Chicago UP has recently decided to remove my book John Venn: A Life in Logic (2022) from sales. This because of the use made of a 2007 dissertation in several of the biographical chapters. I accept this decision. For various reasons, I’ve not been as careful as I should have been in ensuring accurate referencing at all places. I’m very sorry about this, especially to the author of the dissertation. 

At the same time, I regret the fact that it has not been possible to revise and rectify. This has saddened me deeply, also since the consequences have taken a serious toll on me, in different ways. 

In the process of repeatedly revising the manuscript - over the course of a period of many years - several things have gone amiss. 

The crucial final stages came at a time of great personal turmoil for me and my family. On another level, I’ve always been explicit and open about the importance of the dissertation for the book. I’ve hid neither my debt to the dissertation itself nor its significance for the biographical chapters, which sometimes went beyond my immediate expertise: I’ve referred to it multiple times and also mentioned it explicitly in the acknowledgments. This does not justify the lack of accurate referencing. What it does show is that this inaccuracy has, of course, not been deliberate. I’ve been negligent, but never had malign intentions. 

Every scholar has the duty to be honest, careful and transparant. Over the past few months, I’ve again become aware of the responsibilities at play, in this regard. While I’m deeply mindful of the seriousness of the situation that has transpired, I’m convinced that as a scholar I do not coincide with it. I feel strenghtened in this conviction by my close colleagues, who - on the basis of my publications and various other activities - know me as a serious and dedicated scholar and who believe in my credibility. 

Learning from mistakes is a very difficult process, perhaps especially within academia. One condition is that someone is enabled to learn from their mistakes. I would like to ask members of the scholarly community, including those near me, to grant me this opportunity, knowing that I’ll be fully committed to accomplishing this task. 

© 2021 Lukas M. Verburgt 
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