• 488 Citations

Research output per year

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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, Universiteit Leiden

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Research Output

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
  • 10 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
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    20 Downloads (Pure)

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

    Vaesen, K. & Houkes, W., Dec 2017, In : Biology & Philosophy. 32, 6, p. 1245-1268 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    67 Downloads (Pure)

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

    Vaesen, K. & Katzav, J., 8 Sep 2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 9, p. 1-11 e0183967.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 10 Citations (Scopus)
    108 Downloads (Pure)

    On the emergence of American analytic philosophy

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 6 Citations (Scopus)
    247 Downloads (Pure)


    NWO Vidi Award : The Darwinisation of culture

    K. Vaesen (Recipient), 2013

    Prize: NWOVidiScientific

  • Activities

    • 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

    Neanderthaler niet uitgestorven door de moderne mens

    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