Paraclimbing and the Philosophy of Physics

24May2018 12:30 - 13:45


I have a disability and I do sportsclimbing – that makes me a paraclimber. I’d like to take you with me to when and where my climbing adventure began. I’ll start my presentation with a sketch of the situation in which I was first introduced to the climbing experience. When the story begins it is about hospitals, surgeries and MRI scans, but also about perseverance and overcoming. About how I was doing my PhD and did sports climbing on the side, and suddenly I became an international paraclimbing athlete. This is the story of a boy who once fought for his life in a hospital bed, and how he became a young man fighting to be the paraclimbing world champion.

I do paraclimbing because I like it. I want paraclimbing to be more widely known because I believe many people (not only disabled people) would benefit from climbing (and sports in general). I therefore consider it to be my mission to spread the word about paraclimbing. That’s why I’m giving this talk.

At the end of my story about paraclimbing I will tell you a little about my field of study – the philosophy of physics. I will do so by focusing on a much-discussed topic in the philosophy of physics: time. I’ll try to answer the question “what is time?” Or at least give you an idea of what this question means.


At the age of 16, Fedde Benedictus (1982) suffered from a stroke and was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which caused the left half of his body to be spastic. Two years later, Fedde finished high school and moved to Utrecht to study astronomy. He soon discovered that astronomers and physicists often hide behind their equations while the (philosophical) questions lying behind these equations remain unanswered. Fedde decided to combine philosophy and physics, and completed his PhD in the philosophy of physics in 2018. During his PhD research, Fedde became managing editor for Foundations of Physics – an academic journal which connects theoretical physics to its philosophical foundations. Fedde has been teaching at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam in 2015 and 2016 and came to AUC in 2017

Fedde has been doing sportsclimbing (both indoor and outdoor) since 2008 and became an international paraclimbing athlete in 2016. He came in fourth at the World Championship in Paris (September 2016), and is currently training for the World Championship in Innsbruck (September 2018). His book on paraclimbing is scheduled to be published in August 2018.

Location: Common Room
Amsterdam University College
Science Park 113, Amsterdam 1098 XG 
Convenor: Catch (Antoine Bourcieu)


Published by  Amsterdam University College