In my PhD I have elaborated the (significance of the) problem of substance by confronting Nietzsche’s thinking with several classical (Plato, Aristotle) and modern (Descartes, Leibniz, Schopenhauer) philosophers, and with (mostly 18th and 19th century) scientists. I have made clear that substance philosophy has left us with a very problematic legacy, and developed a more adequate alternative to understand the notions ‘being’, ‘becoming,’ and ‘identity.’ After my PhD I have further developed several important elements and implications of this alternative view.
The Niels Stensen grant gave me the possibility to investigate a process pragmatist view of reality with the aid of the best specialists in this field: the members of the Peirce Project in Indianapolis, USA. During this period I have studied Peirce’s philosophy of categories and his logic of relations and prepared papers in which I have elaborated a more sophisticated view on potentiality, relations, and mind.
Considerations on these and related issues culminated in a VENI proposal, which I obtained. The central question of my VENI research was: by virtue of what do things have an identity? From an interactionist perspective identity is not something pre-given but is recognized and developed by virtue of interactions.
In the previous years I have made a shift from more theoretical philosophy to philosophy of technology and have applied my interactionist perspective on issues related to technology, which has proven itself fruitful. I have done extensive research on Clark’s extended mind/self paradigm, on the relation between technology and human nature in general, on the so-called natural-born cyborgs (virtue) ethics, on the philosophy and ethics of new media and on the relation between religion and technology. My main focus lies on the influence of technology on identity.