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Arianna Betti, Mario Damen, Christien Klaufus, Thomas Nys and Ewa Stańczyk receive funding for their research projects from NWO's Open Competition SSH. This funding without any thematic conditions gives them the opportunity to carry out research into the subject of their own choice.

The NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities considered a total of 180 applications, of which 60 were granted. With each proposal, a maximum budget of 400,000 euros could be applied for.

The granted projects:

A data-driven historico-philosophical investigation into axiomatic and experimental science

Arianna Betti

Axiomatic science, such as logic or mathematics, is viewed by many historians and philosophers as being completely different from experimental science. On the basis of a philosophical, data-driven and computational analysis of conceptions of science adopted by Early Modern British thinkers, we demonstrate, on the contrary, that in this crucial period experimental science was often conceptualized as also being axiomatic in nature. This shows that the commonly assumed incompatibility between experimental and axiomatic science is mistaken. A team of philosophers and programmers will apply and further develop novel data-driven and computational methods and techniques in collaboration with libraries and industry.

Staging Nobility in Urban Space. The Nassau Dynasty in the Low Countries (1400-1570)

Mario Damen

In 1403, the Nassau dynasty acquired the town of Breda and other lordships in the Low Countries. The rise of this high-ranking noble family had important consequences for this highly urbanized area. This project demonstrates how the Nassaus used urban space to legitimate their privileged position and to represent their noble lineage and lifestyle. Moreover, it uncovers how, in their turn, the towns took advantage of the dynasty’s princely, noble and religious networks in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.

Migration and invisible borders in Latin American cities

Christien Klaufus

Migration between Latin American countries is increasing. Migrants leave their motherlands to escape violence, poverty and ecological disasters. When they reach cities, they often go to self-built settlements which function as tiny villages according to specific, unspoken rules. This research centralizes migrants’ experiences of acceptance and exclusion when trying to settle in these places. In this way, the study will map out the alternative modes of governance in these neighbourhoods in Latin America, by investigating how social borders are put in place, and how they are being protected and challenged.

Moral Truth: Exploring the Concept of Practical Cognition in Kant’s Ethics

Thomas Nys

Moral judgments seem to claim objective validity. To believe torture is permissible is a mistake. But how should we understand this error? Within Kantian ethics, this objectivity is currently seen as the result of a process of "construction": moral principles are rules of action to which we subscribe as rational beings. Moral knowledge, then, takes shape through a rational process. This research argues that Kant employed a more robust idea of moral knowledge through a close analogy between the practical and theoretical. Not only does this provide a more faithful Kant interpretation, but also a stronger foundation for moral knowledge.

“Soft” Antisemitism? Cartoons and the Decline of Democracy in Interwar Czechoslovakia

Ewa Stańczyk

We know that antisemitic cartoons existed in interwar authoritarian states. Less is known about the influence of such cartoons on democracies. This project focuses on one model democracy of the time: interwar Czechoslovakia. Who produced and consumed antisemitic cartoons, and how did they contribute to the decline of democratic order?