I found a weird and intuitively strange document that is submitted with the thesis. It is called

Propositions To accompanying a dissertation on the.....

and it is such a strange thing included, that maybe it is a cultural thing specific to Dutch academia? Its content is as follows:

To cycle up a steep hillside one needs to accumulate strength beforehand. This is a similar process to planning one’s work. Democracy is forbidden in science. Doing science is similar to the Chinese martial arts (Kungfu). Alongside learning and practice, both are capable of creating physiological or psychological disorder.

In the end, this proposition finishes with

The contention is that these propositions lend themselves to opposition and are defendable, and have been approved as such by promoter [promoter’s name] and co-promoter [co-promoter’s name].

for me, this is so strange and not understandable. Why would this be submitted with the thesis? Please, can someone explain me the meaning?

  • 2
    The formatting that you originally used is intended for reproducing exact formatting, such as if you want to discuss code or the layout of a document. Please use > this is how to format a quote to format quotes. – Stella Biderman Feb 27 '18 at 15:55
  • @StellaBiderman a wanted those quote in the way they wont be indexed in google – SSimon Feb 27 '18 at 16:15
  • 2
    Apparently, your attempt to block the quote being indexed by Google failed since it's already indexed and placed near the mentioned paper. – Andrew T. Mar 16 '18 at 15:45

This is indeed related to customs in Dutch academia. Precise practice and regulations vary between universities, but usually there is the opportunity (or even duty) to provide this list of propositions, usually distributed as an inserted leaflet with the thesis. The propositions themselves vary from serious scientific statements (typically related to the content of the thesis), to more "humorous" statements like the example you posted. These statements can be part of the defense, i.e. the committee can ask questions about them and the candidate has to defend this thesis. In practice (insofar they do not relate to the thesis itself), this only happens when the committee runs out of "real" questions. This can happen because for the defense in the Netherlands a fixed amount of time is prescribed, which cannot be shortened.

  • In my experience, some 25 years ago, the committee usually did not have enough time for each member to ask one question each, much less getting to the propositions. This was in physics/materials science, where a good technical answer might take a while. – Jon Custer Feb 27 '18 at 15:48
  • @JonCuster: yes, I think I have only seen it happen once out of 10 or so defences I visited. Certainly not very common. – Pieter Naaijkens Feb 27 '18 at 16:08
  • @JonCuster weird, this was part physics/materials science thesis – SSimon Feb 27 '18 at 16:16
  • Hmmm. Actually, I think it is very cool. – Buffy Mar 20 '19 at 12:13

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