Vincent Cuypers

PhD student

BA in Philosophy; MSc in Sustainable Development (Ecology) – Thesis: Pollinator Communities, Pollination, Landscape Ecology and the ‘Sharing’ vs. ‘Sparing’ Debate: A Case-Study in Belgian Apple Cultivation

MA in Philosophy – Thesis: O vitae philosophia dux! Ancient insights on exhorting to philosophy

Joined the group in September 2020

PhD project: Tackling Taxonomic Disorder: A Multidisciplinary Approach

My doctoral project is built around the problem of disagreement in biological taxonomy. Taxonomists disagree on many occasions. These include some fundamental issues, such as the question what a biological species actually is, but also many concrete issues of species delimitation, often opposing so-called ‘splitters’ and ‘lumpers’, respectively recognising many species with subtle variations, or few species comprising more substantial variation. While these debates are all interesting, and reflect genuine questions on evolutionary patterns and dynamics, they cause confusion among many other biologists, and conservationists, who rely on clear and stable classifications of biodiversity for their work. In my doctoral project, I try to come to full understanding of this tension, or trade-off; to reflect on legitimate ways of efficiently resolving taxonomic disagreement if needed; and to develop a vision on how these users of taxonomy, including policymakers, can deal with taxonomic uncertainty.

My favorite quote:

“Inter omnia vero hominum studia sapientiae studium est perfectius, sublimius, utilius et iucundius.” “Among all human pursuits, the pursuit of wisdom is more perfect, more noble, more useful, and more agreeable.”

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, I.2

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