PhD Position on the Logic and Philosophy of Informational Content

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 01 May 2024

PhD Position on the Logic and Philosophy of Informational Content
PhD Position on the Logic and Philosophy of Informational Content
Published Deadline Location
today 1 May Utrecht

Are you interested in logical and philosophical questions about semantic content, relevance, and explanation? Check out this PhD position!
Job description
Are you interested in logical and philosophical questions about semantic content, relevance, and explanation? Check out this PhD position!
Your job
In this project, you will formally investigate the notion of informational content – a notion that is sometimes identified with meaning or cognitive significance. Content is what sentences communicate, what agents believe, and what norms express. This notion can also be useful for analysing relevance logics, which require a ‘content connection’ between the antecedents and consequents of valid conditionals. Because content plays a central role in belief, relevance, and explanation, a correct understanding of this notion is vitally important for theorising about agency.
Institutional assumptions about agency are often idealised and unrealistic, leading to bad predictions about how people form beliefs, draw inferences, and choose to act in different situations. Part of the problem is that standard (e.g. possible worlds) models of content do not provide a sufficient level of fine-grainedness. Recent years have seen an explosion of philosophical research on the notion of informational content (e.g. Berto, Fine, Yablo). This research project will explore various ways in which models of content can be modified and how they impact our theories of belief, relevance, and explanation.
You will investigate formal models of informational content, with the aim of addressing research questions such as the following:
  • How can the notion of content be used in a logical analysis of relevance that sharply distinguishes two aspects of valid implication: truth preservation and relevance?
  • What notion of content is most suitable to analyzing cognitive attitudes such as belief and reasoning in real-world scenarios?
  • How can a fine-grained notion of content bear on counterfactual or conditional explanations? Can this benefit the field of explainable artificial intelligence (XAI)?

In this project, you will:
  • use a combination of formal and informal philosophical methods to address research questions about the philosophy and logic of informational content;
  • assess various analyses of content and its applications to belief and reasoning, especially to notions of relevance and knowledge;
  • present your findings at international conferences and network with other scholars;
  • help organise a conference in Utrecht on the project themes.

  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • Utrecht View on Google Maps

Utrecht University

  • You have a (research) Master’s degree with a strong background in philosophy and logic.
  • You have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of modal logic.
  • You are enthusiastic about disseminating your research through publications and conference and workshop presentations.
  • You have excellent writing skills.
  • You have the ability to communicate clearly.
  • You are prepared to work in a collaborative research environment.

Conditions of employment
We offer:
  • a position for 18 months, in case of good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (48 months in total);
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development , leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities , as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University .
Universiteit Utrecht
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes . Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow .
The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city centre of Utrecht, where the faculty is located , contribute to an inspiring working environment.
Additional information
For more information, please contact Colin Caret at [email protected] .
Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.
Working at Utrecht University

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Application procedure
As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.
We invite you to submit your application using the 'apply now' button. Your application should include:
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • your motivation letter;
  • the contact information for two academic referees;
  • a writing sample (max 10.000 words, upload under the section "Master's thesis").

The position is expected to start on 1 October 2024.

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