PhD Defences

Congratulations to the CLUE+ researchers with their succesfull PhD defences.

07/04/2018 | 6:48 PM

Joana Ozorio de Almeida Meroz

Transnational Material Politics. Constructions of Dutch design 1970-2012

Kimberley van den Berg

Keeping in touch in a changing World

Ca. 1200 BC the Aegean palaces were destroyed as part of a larger, eastern Mediterranean crisis. For the pre-crisis period, it is often assumed that these palaces played a key role in maintaining external relations. This, however, fails to explain how interregional networks could continue after the palaces disappeared. Using network theory, in this PhD thesis, it is hypothesized that there were at least also other, strongly connected hubs that helped maintain the network. To test this hypothesis, ceramics and bronze objects in the Aegean and Italy were analyzed. The analysis demonstrated that the connections between these regions continued uninterrupted between 1250 – 1000 BC. In this, no evidence was found for the role of the palaces, while the role of nonpalatial players is clear. This explains how contacts could continue after 1200 and demonstrates that the crisis had little impact on the dynamics of Italo-Aegean networks between 1250 – 1000 BC.

Lieke Asma

Science does not show that free will is an illusion

On the basis of neuroscientific and psychological experiments it is sometimes claimed that even though we might experience that we consciously control what we do, in fact our behavior is caused by states and processes we are not aware of. The conclusion is that free will is an illusion.
In her dissertation, Lieke Asma argues that often it is not made clear how unconscious influences and free will are related, and why these findings are threatening. She points out that these experiments might be threatening because they seem to show that we do not act intentionally. If we do not act intentionally, we lack conscious control and are not free. However, she also argues that these unconscious explanations of behavior do not exclude that agents act intentionally as well. Even though these experiments might show that our conscious intentions have neural precursors and the way in which we intentionally act can be influenced by all kinds of factors, it does not follow that we do not act intentionally and consciously control what we do.

Hans van Eyghen

Mijn onderzoeksvraag was of recente psychologische en evolutionaire verklaringen van religie een negatief oordeel impliceren over de waarheid of redelijkheid van religie. De verklaringen betogen ofwel dat religie een evolutionair voordeel bood voor onze voorouders of een bij-product is van het normaal functioneren van de menselijke geest. De vraag is of deze verklaringen (1) in conflict staan met religieus geloof; (2) aantonen dat religieus geloof gevormd wordt door een verdacht mechanisme en dus op één lijn te zetten is met wensdenken en helderziendheid; (3) aantonen dat religieuze ervaringen niets bovennatuurlijks vereisen en dus geen goede reden vormen voor religieus geloof; (4) tonen dat het grote aantal gelovigen ter wereld volstrekt te verwachten is en geen reden vormt om aan te nemen dat religieus geloof waar is. Mijn antwoord op al deze vragen is uiteindelijk negatief. Vaak overschatten de argumenten wat de verklaringen daadwerkelijk verklaren of gaan ze uit van controversiële aannames zoals strikt naturalisme.