Gertrudis Van de Vijver received both her undergraduate and graduate training in Ghent University, and was awarded her PhD in philosophy from this university in 1988, for her dissertation “Doelgerichtheid in cybernetica, connectionisme en cognitivisme. Tussen twee epistemologische opties: naturalisme en constructivisme”. In addition, she was awarded a 5 month study stay in Paris in 1986, where she studied under Francisco Varela, René Thom, Henri Atlan and Jean Petitot, amongst others. Since receiving her PhD, she was post-doctoral researcher and research director at Ghent University until she became a professor at that institution in 2000.
She is a member of various scientific associations concerned with philosophy, psychology and the life sciences, and has been director of the Centre for Critical Philosophy at the department of philosophy and moral sciences of Ghent University since 2006. Between 2005 and 2010, she led an interdisciplinary research project on Complexity thinking in a post-genomic era, which involved philosophers, biologists, bio-engineers and communication scientists.
Her research is concerned with the epistemological implications of issues of complexity, self-organization and teleology in the life sciences, in psychology and in the study of cognition. For this, she developed a transcendental approach to the philosophy of biology, centring on the idea of co-constitution. In addition, she does research on other aspects and implications of transcendental philosophy, and on the connections of psychoanalytic theory with epistemology and philosophy of language.