Universiteit van Amsterdam

Assistant professor in Philosophy of Science

Deadline: Sunday 11 October 2020
Assistant professor in Philosophy of Science
Publication date 15 September 2020
Closing date 11 October 2020
Level of education PhD
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €3,746 to €5,127 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-540

Questions concerning the explanatory power of scientific theories, the role of emergence and observations are central in philosophy, and are now being asked with great urgency in fundamental physics and in the information sciences.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) and the Institute for Physics (IOP) of the University of Amsterdam are seeking an Assistant professor in Philosophy of Science, to discover new answers and insights on these and related topics.

Bridging physics, the information sciences and philosophy in current questions and debates on the role of observation, emergence, explanation and understanding are key to bringing these fields forward. Fundamental questions in physics, tied in with investigations on classical and quantum information and its role in the information society are subjects that are very much in the focus of attention, both at the research and teaching level. We are seeking a top level researcher and educator that can successfully address these subjects in teaching and research, documented by a strong publication and teaching record. Student engagement and teaching success are key aspects of this vacancy, which is funded by the University of Amsterdam’s novel teaching quality incentive funds.

Research area key words: emergence, philosophy of physics, models and explanation, classical and quantum information, quantum gravity, information theory, history and philosophy of science, science and society. We are looking for someone who can bridge the disciplines of philosophy and physics, can connect to philosophy of the information sciences and has a proven track record of teaching these subjects successfully.

Teaching entails courses on reflection about the information society, and philosophy of the exact sciences/physics. These courses reflect on science and technology, the scientist’s theories and methods and their role in society. The position is divided equally in teaching and research time (50%-50%). Furthermore, the position is fully embedded within the faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam where the appointment will be embedded half-time in the ILLC and half-time in IOP. The selected candidate will help ILLC and IoP to establish a strong collaboration in the area of philosophy of science.

What are you going to do?

You are expected:

  • to teach reflective/philosophical courses at both BSc and MSc level in the information sciences and exact sciences programs at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam;
  • to be an active and committed participant in UvA’s teaching community through committee work and (BSc and MSc) thesis supervision;.
  • to do contribute to UvA’s cutting-edge teaching and research environment in history and philosophy of science, logic and fundamental physics;
  • to publish on these subjects in leading scientific journals;
  • to be active in attracting external funds;
  • to collaborate in research and teaching with researchers in the ILLC and IoP;
  • to contribute actively to the dissemination of research results to industry and to society;.
  • to help expand the strong nucleus of research on Philosophy of Science in UvA.

What do we require?

  • A PhD in Philosophy of Science, with background knowledge in philosophy of physics;
  • strong familiarity with modern fundamental physics and a strong interest in the philosophy of the information sciences;
  • strong track record of publications on these subjects;
  • the ability to communicate research findings to a broad audience;
  • excellent didactic skills and a track record of university teaching;
  • ideally some experience in supervising students;
  • BKO (Dutch university teaching credential), or the willingness to enroll in a programme to obtain one;
  • interest in contributing to an interdisciplinary research environment;
  • willingness to engage in valorisation and outreach activities;
  • the ability to teach in Dutch and English;
  • a team player excited to bridge the ILLC and IoP institutes.

Our offer

Universitair Docent 2 (assistant professor), with tenure review after 2 years, depending on qualifications.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €3,746 to €5,127 (scale 11) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

About the Faculty of Science 

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

About the Institute of Physics

The mission of the Institute of Physics (IoP) is to carry out excellent research in the field of experimental and theoretical physics, to provide inspiring teaching within the physics and other curricula and to transfer our knowledge of and enthusiasm for physics to society. The IoP has over 50 faculty and 180 researchers in total. The combination with the NWO Institutes at Amsterdam Science Park constitutes the largest physics hub in the Netherlands and is an international centre of excellence.

Research at IoP is organized in three research divisions: the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute for Experimental Physics (WZI), the Institute for Theoretical Physics Amsterdam (ITFA) and the Institute for High-Energy Physics (IHEF), the latter embedded within the Nikhef collaboration, the national NWO Institute for subatomic physics. Within IoP, the position will be based within ITFA, which focuses on research in the (partly overlapping) themes Soft Condensed Matter, Quantum Condensed Matter, String Theory, Theoretical Particle Physics, Astroparticle Physics, Cosmology, Mathematical Physics, and History and Philosophy of Physics.

About the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is an interdisciplinary research institute that is part of both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. Its scientific mission is to study the formal properties of information, viz. the fundamental structure and properties of processes of encoding, transmitting and comprehending information. Research at the ILLC is interdisciplinary and aims at bringing together insights from various fields concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, computer science, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, linguistics, cognitive science, and music cognition. The institute occupies a leading position internationally in its areas of research. A considerable part of the research is made possible by external funding from Dutch and European organizations.

Within the ILLC, this vacancy fits within the scope of the ‘Logic and Language’ programme, where it will complement the current research-lines in Philosophical Logic, Philosophy of Language, Cognitive science, Philosophy of AI and in the Philosophy and Methodology of Science.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 11 October 2020. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications.