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Personal profile


“Past and failed innovations tell us as much about innovation as contemporary successful ones”

Research profile

Krist Vaesen is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy of Innovation, at the department Philosophy & Ethics. Krist has worked on a wide range of topics, including technological normativity, the extended mind hypothesis, the epistemology of cognitive artifacts, the cognitive bases of tool use and experimental philosophy. His current research interests include theories of cultural and technological evolution, foundational issues in human origins research, the philosophy of scientific models (e.g., models of innovation), scientific pluralism, science & research policy, and the history of 20th Century Anglo-American philosophy.

Academic background

Krist Vaesen studied bioscience engineering (1998) and philosophy (2003) at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He obtained his doctoral from TU/e (2008) with a philosophical essay on artifacts and norms. He was a post-doctoral researcher in the NWO-program “Things that make us smart: cognitive artifacts and extended minds” (2008-2012), and was awarded an excellence grant from TU/e’s Executive Board for his work on this program. In 2012, he became an assistant professor in philosophy at TU/e. He obtained a Vidi-grant in 2014 for the program “Darwinizing culture: the status of cultural evolutionary theory as a science” (2014-2019). Since 2015, he has been a research fellow at the Human Origins Group, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. In 2018, he became an elected member of the Eindhoven Young Academy of Engineering.

He has published in prominent general science journals (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, PLoS ONE), biology journals (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B), anthropology journals (Evolutionary Anthropology, Current Anthropology), and philosophy journals (Biology & Philosophy, Philosophy of Science). His research has been covered by various national and international media outlets (Times Higher Education, Volkskrant, Radio 1/VPRO, BNR News Radio, Royal Society’s Chemistry World).

External positions

Research fellow, Leiden University

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Krist Vaesen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cultural Evolution Medicine & Life Sciences
Demography Medicine & Life Sciences
Hominidae Medicine & Life Sciences
Aptitude Medicine & Life Sciences
cognition Social Sciences
Neanderthals Medicine & Life Sciences
Archaeology Medicine & Life Sciences
Executive Function Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2019

Darwinizing culture: The status of cultural evolutionary theory as a science

Vaesen, K., Boon, E., Gerrits, E., Vromans - Staps, I., Vromans - Staps, I., Vereggen - Tielemans, T. & Vereggen - Tielemans, T.


Project: Research direct

Research Output 2005 2019

3 Downloads (Pure)

Inbreeding, Allee effects and stochasticity might be sufficient to account for Neanderthal extinction

Vaesen, K., Scherjon, F., Hemerik, L. & Verpoorte, A., 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 11, 16 p., e0225117.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

The national science foundation and philosophy of science's withdrawal from social concerns

Vaesen, K. & Katzav, J., Dec 2019, In : Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 78, p. 73-82 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
National Science Foundation
Philosophy of Science
1 Citation (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)

Complexity and technological evolution: What everybody knows? What everybody knows?

Vaesen, K. & Houkes, W., 2018, In : Biology & Philosophy. 32, 6, p. 1245-1268 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Cultural Evolution
9 Citations (Scopus)
97 Downloads (Pure)

How much would each researcher receive if competitive government research funding were distributed equally among researchers?

Vaesen, K. & Katzav, J., 2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 9, p. 1-11 e0183967.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
5 Citations (Scopus)
226 Downloads (Pure)

On the emergence of American analytic philosophy

Katzav, J. & Vaesen, K., 2017, In : British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 25, 4, p. 772-798 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Analytic philosophy
American philosophy
Philosophical Review


NWO Vidi Award : The Darwinisation of culture

K. Vaesen (Recipient), 2013

Prize: NWOVidiScientific

Human Being
Evolutionary Biology

Activities 2015 2019

  • 4 Invited talk
  • 1 Workshop, seminar, course or exhibition
  • 1 Editorial activity
  • 1 Keynote talk

Hoe verandert cultuur?

Eva Boon (Organiser), Krist Vaesen (Organiser)
5 Apr 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesWorkshop, seminar, course or exhibitionPopular

Acta Biotheoretica (Journal)

Krist Vaesen (Editorial board member)
2019 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific

Why and how to reform current science funding practices

Krist Vaesen (Speaker)
22 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

A more egalitarian future

Krist Vaesen (Speaker)
18 Apr 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesKeynote talkScientific

A partly externalist account of the course of 20th-Century Anglo-American philosophy

Krist Vaesen (Speaker), J.K. Katzav (Speaker)
24 Oct 2017

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

Press / Media

Models Explore Possible Causes of Neanderthal Extinction

Krist Vaesen


2 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Habsburg jaw likely caused by inbreeding, study finds

Krist Vaesen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Scientists slam Chinese CRISPR babies research after manuscript released

Krist Vaesen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Student theses

How system architecture shapes performance curves: a simulation study of systemic innovation inertia

Author: Zijlstra, F., Jun 2017

Supervisor: Houkes, W. (Supervisor 1), Alkemade, F. (Supervisor 2) & Vaesen, K. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master