News and Events: Open Positions

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PhD in Philosophical Logic

Deadline: Monday 22 May 2023
Faculty/Services: Faculty of Humanities
Educational level: Master
Function type: PhD position
Closing date: 22 May 2023
Vacancy number: 11546

Are you looking for a challenging position in an interdisciplinary environment? The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) currently has a vacant 4-year PhD position in Philosophical Logic / Philosophy of Logic as part of the ERC funded project “Generalisation into sentence and predicate positions”, led by Dr. Thomas Schindler. The ILLC is a research institute at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate.

Project description:

The most basic and best understood form of generalisation is generalisation over objects. In formal logic, this form of generalisation is achieved via first-order quantifiers, i.e. operators that bind variables in the syntactic position of singular terms. However, many theoretical contexts require generalisation into sentence and predicate positions. Very roughly, generalisation into sentence and predicate positions is a high-level form of generalisation in which we make a general statement about a class of statements (e.g. the principle of mathematical induction, the laws of logic). We can distinguish two competing methods for achieving generalisation into sentence and predicate positions: (A) The direct method: by adding variables that can stand in the syntactic position of sentences and predicates, and quantifiers for them. This method is exemplified in the use of second- and higher-order logic (type theory). (B) The indirect method: by adding singular terms that are obtained from sentences and predicates by nominalising transformations, or by ascending to a metalanguage and attributing semantic properties to linguistic expressions or their contents. This method is exemplified in the use of formal theories of reified properties, sets, and classes, and formal theories of truth and satisfaction. As both methods come with their own ideological and ontological commitments, it makes a substantial difference which one is chosen as the framework for formulating our mathematical, scientific and philosophical theories. Some research has been done in this direction but it is still very much in its early stages. This research project will provide a sustained systematic investigation of the two methods from a unified perspective and develop novel formal tools to articulate deductively strong theories.

What are you going to do?

You will be expected to contribute to the research objectives of the project, in agreement with and under the supervision of Thomas Schindler. In particular, you will be expected to contribute to the comparison of the two methods. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) (1) the relation between the concept of truth and primitive propositional quantification and (2) the problem of absolute generality (unrestricted quantification).

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • participating in activities of the project research group;
  • producing high-quality research articles;
  • presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • co-organizing events;
  • working as a teaching assistant for courses in your area of expertise.

What do you have to offer?

  • a completed Master's degree in philosophy, logic or related field. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree if you can provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 1 September 2023;
  • strong background in logic;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • good command of English.

Having prior knowledge of topics relevant to the project (e.g. higher-order logic, propositional quantification, formal theories of truth, properties and sets, the problem of absolute generality/unrestricted quantification, the higher-order versus first-order debate) is desirable, but students without it are encouraged to apply provided they are willing to acquire the required knowledge within the first year of their doctoral studies.

What can we offer you?

We offer a temporary employment contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. The preferred starting date is 1 September 2023.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges from € 2541 in the first year up to a maximum of € 3247 in the final year. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer

  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in the field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute at the UvA in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, natural language processing, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, music cognition, and philosophy.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 22 May 2023.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf):

  • A cover letter. This should include a (brief) explanation of your interest in the project.
  • A full academic CV.
  • One or two writing samples (e.g. a published paper or a chapter of your thesis). There is no strict word limit but, ideally, a single writing sample has no more than 8000 words.
  • A list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with grades. Please include an explanation / legend of the grading system.
  • The names and contact details of two references, including your thesis supervisor, who may be approached by the selection committee.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be held at the beginning of June.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize 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.


Application form:

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.