Bert Leuridan

Associate professor

Call for applications: Full-time (100%) vacancy: PhD position in philosophy of science (and related domains)

Project: Interlevel causation from an interventionist point of view. Solving problems in the philosophy of mind and in the philosophy of the psychological sciences.

  • Duration: 2+2 years
  • Starting date: September 2016 (negotiable, but not later than January 1, 2017)
  • Domain(s): philosophy of science, analytic metaphysics, philosophy of mind
  • Net income: approximately 1900 EUR/month (Dehousse-scholarship)
  • Deadline for applications: July 3, 2016.

Job offer

The Centre for Philosophical Psychology of the University of Antwerp (Belgium) is offering a full-time position for 2+2 years, for a pre-doctoral researcher, starting September 2016 or later (negotiable, but in any case not later than January 1, 2017).

The position is part of the project “Interlevel causation from an interventionist point of view. Solving problems in the philosophy of mind and in the philosophy of the psychological sciences.”, funded by the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO-Vlaanderen) and supervised by Bert Leuridan (University of Antwerp).

The candidate should have a master’s degree (or equivalent) by the starting date and can submit outstanding academic results. Also students in the final year of their degree can apply. Moreover, the candidate should have a demonstrable interest in one or more of the aforementioned domains (philosophy of science, analytic metaphysics, philosophy of mind). Preferably, the candidate did not receive a Dehousse scholarship yet.

The candidate should be proficient in English; knowledge of Dutch is not required. Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.  The candidate is expected to carry out original research within the boundaries of the project and to write a PhD dissertation on the basis of that research. The PhD degree will be in philosophy.

Given a positive evaluation after two years, the contract will be extended by another two years.


The project Summary in layman's terms

Note: shortlisted candidates will receive the full version of the project.

Jim Woodward's interventionist theory of causation, which starts from the intuition that causal relations are relations which are potentially exploitable for manipulation and control, has become increasingly popular in philosophy of science in the past years. One of its unique selling propositions is that it dovetails nicely with scientific practice, including the psychological sciences, and with people's everyday causal reasoning. Interventionism has recently been invoked in two distinct yet related philosophical discussions. First, several authors have used it to guard mental causation against the epiphenomenalist's causal exclusion argument. Yet these promising endeavours have strongly been criticized by Michael Baumgartner in a series of papers. The second discussion concerns Carl Craver's account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms. Even though his account is inspired by Woodward's interventionist theory of causation, Craver insists that constitutive relevance relations cannot be causal. This gives rise to a number of problems. The central goal of this project is to find a unifying solution to these related - yet distinct – problems. The central research hypothesis is that this can be done by giving up the twin assumptions that supervenience and constitutive relevance cannot be causal. This is a plausible solution, since we have good independent reasons for interpreting these relations as bidirectional – bottom-up and top-down – causal relations.

Information for applicants

Applicants should send each of the following (preferably in a single pdf-file) to by July 3, 2016:

  • a motivation letter (between 1 and 3 pages)
  • a CV
  • a list of publications and talks (if applicable)
  • graduate transcripts (candidates who do not have a master’s degree by the time of application must specify by when they expect to obtain their degree)
  • the topic of their master’s dissertation
  • one writing sample (e.g., a part of the master thesis, an essay, etc.)
  • the names and contact details of two possible referees (no recommendation letters necessary)

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (in vivo or via skype).