Dr. M. Boenink

Dr. Marianne Boenink

Department of Philosophy
University of Twente
Postbus 217
7500 AE Enschede 

Room: Cubicus, kamer C 316
Tel: 053 489 3309 (Monday & Thursday) / 3297
Email: m.boenink (a)


Marianne Boenink is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente, where she specializes in philosophy and ethics of biomedical technology. She holds a MSc in Health Sciences (Universiteit Maastricht) and an MA in Philosophy (Universiteit van Amsterdam). In 2000 she received a PhD in Philosophy from the Universiteit van Amsterdam for a dissertation on the role of philosophical and literary texts in normative judgments. From 2000 to 2003 she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, before coming to Twente. She is a member of the 3TU Centre of Excellence for Ethics and Technology. See also


Marianne’s research focuses on philosophical and ethical issues related to several biomedical technologies, like predictive DNA diagnostics, breast cancer screening, and applications of nanotechnology in medicine. In addition, she has done methodological work on the early ethical assessment of emerging technologies. Recurrent themes in her research are: the molecularization of concepts of disease and health; ethics of early diagnosis, screening and prevention; the role of uncertainties (as distinct from risks) in emerging technologies and how to responsibly deal with them; and the relation between developments in science & technology on the one hand and health care practices on the other.Currently, Marianne is the project leader of a NWO funded research project (2009-2014) on ‘Responsible (early) diagnostics for Alzheimer’s Disease’, in which researchers from the Department of Philosophy at Twente and the Department of Innovation Studies (Universiteit Utrecht) participate. In close cooperation with a Dutch research consortium developing molecular tools for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), this project investigates how technological innovation of diagnostics for AD can be stimulated to result in a socially and ethically responsible diagnostic practice of AD. The project focuses on the question how to responsibly deal with the epistemological, clinical, social and cultural uncertainties accompanying these technological developments. Early engagement of stakeholders is one of the tools that will be used to broaden reflection on these issues. The project’s aim is to contribute to a responsible diagnostic practice for Alzheimer’s Disease, and to develop a model for responsible innovation in diagnostics more generally.



  • Minor Philosophy (161001)
  • Ethics of Biomedical Technology (169212)
  • Within the Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (Master PSTS):
    • Ethics and Politics of Emerging Technologies (161265)
  • Master Thesis Seminar PSTS
  • Guest lectures in:
    • Research Ethics for Communication SciencesEthics of Biomedical Technologies for Ethics and Technology 2 (Master PSTS)
  • Recently taught:
    • Research Skills and Thesis Proposal (in master PSTS)Ethics and Technology 1 (in master PSTS)

Marianne Boenink is ethicist-member of

  • Forum Centrum voor Ethiek en Gezondheid, Raad voor de Volksgezondheid en Zorg
  • Medisch Ethische Toetsingscommissie het Roessingh/Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede
  • The EU Roundtable on Social and Ethical Aspects of Nanomedicine
  • In addition, she is a member of the Editorial Board of the Nieuwsbiref Nederlandse Vereniging voor Bio-ethiek and formerly was a member of the Editorial Board of Krisis, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie (1989-1997)

Books (and edited volumes)

  • Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink, Bart Walhout & Rinie van Est (red.), Leven als bouwpakket. Ethisch verkennen van een nieuwe technologische golf, Klement, Kampen 2009.
  • Marianne Boenink, Boekenwijsheid. Over filosofie, literatuur en normatieve oordeelsvorming, Dissertation, Universiteit van Amsterdam, June 2000.
  • Tsjalling Swierstra & Marianne Boenink, Converging technologies, shifting boundaries,Special issue of Nano-ethics, 2009 (3).

Scientific publications (refereed):

  • Marianne Boenink. ‘Molecular medicine and concepts of disease: the ethical value of a conceptual analysis of emerging biomedical technologies’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2010 (13): 11-23.
  • Marianne Boenink. ‘Tensions and opportunities in convergence: Shifting concepts of disease in emerging molecular medicine’, NanoEthics 2009 (3) no. 3, pp. 243-255.
  • Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink, Rinie van Est & Bart Walhout, ‘Converging Technologies, Shifting Boundaries’, NanoEthics 2009 (3), pp. 213-216.
  • Tsjalling Swierstra, Rinie van Est & Marianne Boenink, ‘Taking Care of the Symbolic Order. How Converging Technologies Challenge our Concepts’. NanoEthics 2009 (3), pp. 269-280.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Unambiguous test results or individual independence? The role of clients and families in predictive BRCA-testing in the Netherlands compared to the USA’, Social Science & Medicine 72, (2011), pp. 1793-1801.Electronically available at: DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.06.011, ISSN 0277-9536.
  • Marianne Boenink & Simone van der Burg, ‘Informed decision making about predictive DNA tests: arguments for more public visibility of personal deliberations about the good life’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2010 (13): 127-138. DOI 10.1007/s11019-009-9227-6, ISSN 1386-7423.
  • Dirk Stemerding, Tsjalling Swierstra & Marianne Boenink, ‘Exploring the interaction between technology and morality in the field of genetic susceptibility testing: a scenario study’, Futures 42 (2010): 1133-1145.Electronically available at:, ISSN 0016-3287.
  • Marianne Boenink, Tsjalling Swierstra, Dirk Stemerding, ‘Anticipating the interaction between technology and morality: A techno-ethical scenario study of experimenting with humans in bionanotechnology’, Studies in Ethics & Law of Technology 2010 (4) no. 2, art 4: 1-38., ISSN 1941-6008.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Debating the desirability of new biomedical technologies: Lessons from the introduction of breast cancer screening in the Netherlands’, Health Care Analysis 2011, DOI: 10.1007/s10728-011-0173-0.
  • Federica Lucivero, Tsjalling Swierstra & Marianne Boenink, ‘Assessing Expectations: Towards a Toolbox for an Ethics of Emerging Technologies’, Nanoethics 2011,

Book chapters

  • Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink & Dirk Stemerding, ‘Exploring Techno-Moral Change: The Case of the Obesity Pill’, in: Paul Sollie & Marcus Duwell (eds.), Evaluating New Technologies. Methodological Problems for the Ethical Assessment of Technology Developments, Dordrecht/Heidelberg: Springer 2009, pp. 119-138.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Gezondheid als bron van permanente zorg. Over de implicaties van moleculaire geneeskunde’,in: Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink, Bart Walhout & Rinie van Est (red.) Leven als bouwpakket. Ethisch verkennen van een nieuwe technologische golf, Klement, Kampen 2009, pp.104-148.
  • Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink, Rinie van Est, ‘Slotbeschouwing. Convergerende technologieën en opkomende grensconflicten’, in: Tsjalling Swierstra, Marianne Boenink, Bart Walhout & Rinie van Est (red.)Leven als bouwpakket. Ethisch verkennen van een nieuwe technologische golf, Klement, Kampen 2009, pp.185-211.
  • Marianne Boenink. ‘Genetic diagnostics for hereditary breast cancer. Displacement of uncertainty and responsibility’, in: Gerard de Vries & Klasien Horstman (eds.), Genetics from the laboratory to society, Palgrave/Macmillan, Houndmills Basingstoke 2008. pp. 37-63.
  • Marianne Boenink. ‘Genetische diagnostiek voor erfelijke borstkanker – Verplaatsing van onzekerheid en verantwoordelijkheid’, in: Gerard de Vries & Klasien Horstman (red.), Genetica van laboratorium naar samenleving. De ongekende praktijk van voorspellende genetische testen, Aksant, Amsterdam (2004) pp.35-63.

Scientific publications (non-refereed)

  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Lessen in complicerende filosofie: filosofisch reflecteren op nieuwe diagnostiek voor de ziekte van Alzheimer’, in: Harry van den Berg, Ewald Engelen, Yolande Jansen (red.), Het gelaagde denken, F&N uitgeverij (2009), pp. 123 - 131.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Gezond vertrouwen. Over de rol van vertrouwen in het bevolkingsonderzoek naar borstkanker’, in: Krisis, tijdschrift voor empirische filosofie 4 (2003) 1, pp. 53-74.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Boeken met een boodschap. Over literatuur en normatieve oordeelsvorming’, in: Krisis 68 (1997), pp. 13-28.
  • Marianne Boenink, 'Door de spiegelwand. Over herkenning en erkenning van vreemdelingen in moderniteitstheorieën’, in: Krisis 56 (1994), pp.16-20.
  • Marianne Boenink, 'Een ballon in de boom' (naar aanleiding van A.Mol en P.van Lieshout - Ziek is het woord niet), in: Krisis 38 (1990), pp.72-80.
  • Marianne Boenink, 'Van thema's naar structuren'. in: GVO/Preventie 9 (1988) 2, pp.75-94.
  • Marianne Boenink. ‘Foucault over medicalisering'. in: Metamedica 65 (1986) pp.186-197.

Professional publications (selection):

  • ‘DNA diagnostics for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer’, in: Emilie Gomart (ed.), Genesis. Life at the end of the information age. Centraal Museum Utrecht (2007), pp. 38-39.
  • Marianne Boenink en Lieke van der Scheer, ‘Nieuwe technieken en beïnvloeding van gedrag in de gezondheidszorg – Inleiding’, in: NVBe Nieuwsbrief 14, nr. 3 (september 2007), pp. 2-3.
  • ‘Kwetsbaarheid en kosmopolitisme’, de Helling 15 (2002) 1, pp. 8-9.‘Martha Nussbaum’. in: M. Doorman en H. Pott, Filosofen van deze tijd. Bert Bakker, Amsterdam, 2000, pp. 342-356 (2nd edition 2002, 349-363).
  • ‘Inleiding’, in: Martha Nussbaum, Wat liefde weet. Emoties en moreel oordelen. Boom/Parrèsia, Amsterdam/Meppel, 1998, pp.7-26. (Reprint in Rainbow series, Maarten Muntinga, 2002).
  • ‘Liefde als bron van ambivalentie. Een interview met Martha Nussbaum’, in: Martha Nussbaum, Wat liefde weet. Emoties en moreel oordelen. Boom/Parrèsia, Amsterdam/Meppel, 1998, pp. 199-220. (Reprint in Rainbow series, Maarten Muntinga, 2002).
  • 'De rechter als lezer, criticus en schrijver', in: Trema 1995, no.4, pp.123-127.
  • 'Boekenwijsheid. Filosofie en literatuur als stijlen van schrijven en denken', in: T. Jansen, F. Ruiter & J. Hakemulder, De lezer als burger, Kok-Agora, Kampen 1994, pp.50-66.
  • 'Vrouwe Hygieia en de zeven richtlijnen. Voedingsvoorlich­ting en moraal'. in: Tijdschrift voor Gezondheid en Politiek 8 (1990) 4, pp.8-10.
  • 'Kalmeringsmiddel of lachtherapie: over politieke oordeels­vorming in een massamaatschappij'. in: M.ter Hark, P.S.Hasper, R.G.Hilbrands (red.), Congresbundel Filosofiedag Groningen 1995. Eburon, Delft 1995, pp.168-72.
  • ‘Van thema's naar structuren. Het gvo-beleid van de rijks­overheid in de jaren 1962-1980’, in: Gvo-cahier 23, Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, Maastricht 1987.
  • Marianne Boenink, Vroegdiagnostiek voor Alzheimer: voorportaal van zelfdoding?, in: Nieuwsbrief van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Bio-ethiek, december 2010.
  • Marianne Boenink, ‘Biomarkers voor Alzheimer’, in: Bart Walhout, Ira van Keulen, Rinie van Est & Ineke Malsch:Nanogeneeskunde in Nederland: maatschappelijke en economische uitdagingen. Den Haag: Rathenau Instituut April 2010, p.15.

Media appearances

  • Lectures on subjects related to research activities for:Probus Tubantia, Studium Generale Universiteit van Amsterdam, Studium Generale Universiteit Maastricht, Thomas More Academie (Heerlen, Nijmegen, Hengelo), Internationale School voor Wijsbegeerte Leusden, Zomerschool voor Ouderen Voorburg, Studiecentrum Rechtspleging Zutphen
  • Interviews on subjects related to research activities for:RTV Oost (television), Enschede FM, IKON (radio)
    Newspaper articles on subjects related to research activities for:Tubantia, Nieuwsbrief Nederlandse Vereniging voor Bio-ethiek, Lover

Research funding

  • October 2009 – September 2013: Grant by Dutch Research Council (NWO), Program Responsible Innovation, for project ‘Responsible early diagnostics for Alzheimer’s Disease’ (main applicant, € 550.000)
  • December 2006 – August 2007: Commissioned by Rathenau Institute to edit and write a book on Ethics of converging technologies (co-applicant with T.E.Swierstra)
  • October 2005 – September 2006: Grant by Dutch Research Council (NWO), Program Ethics, Research and Governance, ‘Scenarios of future moral controversies on new biomedical technologies’ (co-applicant with dr. T.E.Swierstra)
  • July 2000 – June 2003:Participant (postdoc) in Project funded by Dutch Research Council (NWO), Program Social Cohesion, ‘‘Problems of social cohesion and health politics in the era of predictive medicine’ (main applicant prof.dr. G.H. de Vries)