Universiteit Leiden

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Jesse Sarneel

PhD candidate

J.T. Sarneel MA
+31 71 527 2031

I am an external PhD candidate in Early Modern Philosophy supervised by dr. Jan Sleutels and dr. Frank Chouraqui. In daily life I am married, a father of two and working as a gastroenterologist. Apart from philosophy I am also heavily interested in history in general, the natural sciences (especially geophysics and evolutionary biology) and the classical languages (possessing a (very) modest ability in actually speaking Latin and trying to improve it). I like to run, cook, read, play bass and spend a lot of time with my family and friends.

More information about Jesse Sarneel


E-mail: sarneel@hotmail.com


Modern Philosophy seems to contain a paradox: by trying to conceive of and design a method which is able to completely conceive of the world and rendering every question about it as decidable, i.e. by posing every question as computable or mechanically solvable (Leibniz' famous 'Calculemus'), it is actually aimed at the elimination of itself and its own nature as philosophy as asking questions about the nature and identity of the world and of ourselves dwelling in it. What is so disturbing about philosophy that it is trying to forge a method to eliminate itself? The method is aimed at 'nous rendre comme maîtres et possesseurs de la nature' (Descartes), which makes up the foundation of our contemporary way of life which is profoundly transformed by modern mathematical natural science and technology which also profoundly transformed the world we live in. By means of the method '[wird] die Nature zu einer einzigen riesenhaften Tankstelle, zur Energiequelle für die moderne Technik und Industrie' (Heidegger) and we live in the illusion that for every problem there will a technical solution. However, at the same time we are aware of the numerous side effects of science and technology, for example from environmental pollution, the exhaustion of natural resources and alleged climate change to the destruction of cultural and biodiversity, diseases of affluence and a perceived dehumanisation of the world we live in. I will try to demonstrate in my PhD by concentrating on Descartes' fourth rule (Necessaria est methodus ad rerum veritatem investigandam) how Modern Philosophy is borne and motivated by an existential experience regarding our own identity and our place in and relationship with nature by conceiving of the great transformation taking place in early Modern Philosophy as a Neolithic Revolution in thought. This Neolithic Revolution will be traced in the actual words and phrasings used in early Modern Philosophical texts and in the development of the early Modern Philosophical concepts from Antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. 

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 2.03


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