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Postions in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Location: University of Groningen

The research programme "Modelling Freedom: Formal Analysis and Normative Philosophy", carried out at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, aims to contribute to the further explication and understanding of concepts of freedom by engendering an interaction between philosophical and rational choice approaches to freedom. The programme covers a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from the conceptual analysis of freedom to significant contemporary social and political applications.

The research programme has in total five openings in the area of philosophy, politics and economics: three full-time PhD positions, and two full-time postdoctoral positions.

PhD project 1: Freedom and Coercion. The aim is to develop a formal analysis of the notion of freedom as absence of coercion. The approach to be adopted is "counterfactual" since it is based on the intuition that an act is involuntary if it would not have been undertaken under certain other circumstances. The model is to be applied to the analysis of fairness in trade relations.

PhD project 2: Freedom and Diversity. This project concerns the view put forward by some philosophers that diversity is an important determinant of one's freedom. On this view, the greater the diversity of choice the greater is one's freedom. The aim of this project is to determine the extent to which diversity can be incorporated within the formal analysis of freedom.

PhD project 3: Freedom and Globalisation. The departing point of this project is Amartya Sen's proposal to conceptualise development in terms of freedom. This aim is to examine whether Sen's rational choice account of freedom can indeed be applied to different cultural contexts. The project will first study the conceptions of freedom in African political thinking. It will then consider the compatibility of Sen's ideas with these non-western philosophical conceptions of freedom.

Postdoc project 1: The postdoc project "Freedom and Groups" concerns the game- theoretic analysis of freedom in which the focus is on comparing the amount of freedom that individuals enjoy in different strategic situations or games (in contrast to those approaches that concern the ranking of sets of alternatives). Attention will be given to both the measurement of individual and collective freedom.

Postdoc project 2: "Freedom and Liberalism" will examine the extent to which rational choice theory has and can shed new light on the philosophical analysis of the value of freedom. Does rational choice theory merely underscore what philosophers have been saying all along or does it yield new insights? To what extent do the formal results of rational choice theory contradict existing views? The answers to these questions will subsequently be used to evaluate theories of liberalism. Attention will be given to the extent to which the different liberal views of the importance of freedom have to be modified.

(Extended) closing date for application: 14 April 2004. Candidates for the positions should have a masters degree (PhD positions) or have completed a dissertation (postdoctoral positions) in philosophy and ideally would be acquainted with formal modelling (game theory, social choice theory, logic), or have a masters degree (PhD positions) or completed a dissertation (postdoctoral positions) in economics or political science and have demonstrated a strong interest in philosophy.

Starting date: preferably 1 september 2004. For the PhD. projects the University of Groningen offers an appointment for a period of four years which period should be finished with a PhD examination. Salary is according university standards € 1683 gross per month in the first year to € 2258 gross per month in the fourth year for a 100% appointment. For the postdoc positions the University of Groningen offers a full time appointment for a period of 2 years, with the possibility of a prolongation with 1 year. Gross salary for the post-doctoral researcher will be max. € 3983 gross per month (scale 11) depending on relevant experience and education for a 100% appointment.

Further details about the vacancies, as well as information about how to apply, can be found at More information on the research program can be found at

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