Universiteit van Amsterdam

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Job opening PhD student for the interdisciplinary VAAG-project

The Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation, the Netherlands has openings starting flexibly between September 1st, 2008 and January 1st, 2009 for a PhD-student. The position is in the interdisciplinary VAAG-project which involves philosophers, linguists, cognitive scientists, and psychologists from various european countries. The Amsterdam part of the VAAG-project is coordinated by Robert van Rooij and Frank Veltman. The advertised PhD position is for a three-year PhD project.

The project VAAG:

Vagueness is a pervasive property of human language and cognition that is important for all fields of research that make use of symbolic representations. Approximation refers mechanisms that regulate vagueness in meaning composition, and granularity to mechanisms that divide meaning spaces. While vagueness has often been regarded as undesirable, the VAAG project is based on a growing recognition that vagueness is actually in many respects useful. VAAG targets a broad, interdisciplinary reassessment of vagueness with contributions to general cognitive science, linguistic semantics, experimental psychology, formal pragmatics and computer science. An appropriate theory of vagueness for these uses must not only explain how vagueness is represented, but also why it exists, what its uses are, and how it is constrained sentence internally and within discourse. Three central themes of the VAAG-project are the following: a) the relation of vagueness and cognitive efficiency, b) vagueness, granularity and the compositionality of meaning, and c) the distinction between different kinds of vagueness. The first theme addresses the question why vagueness is useful. We explore the intuition that vagueness can be useful in scenario where precise information can provide too much information. The second theme concerns approximation which regulates vagueness either through explicit markers like exactly or as a general side-effect of concept combination. The third theme connects to both of the other themes since different motivation of vagueness seem to lead to types of vagueness, and these require different types of approximation strategies. In this way, the VAAG project targets a central issue for models of intelligent interaction using a broad multi-disciplinary perspective.

The primary task of the advertised position is to investigate the relation of vagueness and cognitive efficiency.

Desirable skills include:
- advanced knowledge in model-theoretic semantics and formal pragmatics
- familiarity with formal models of vagueness
- some knowledge of game theory
- interest to work in an interdisciplinary team with philosophers, linguists, cognitive scientists, and psychologists

Review of applications will start September 1st, 2008 and continue until the position is filled.

Applications should include the following information:
- curriculum vitae
- samples of prior published research
- names and email addresses of three people that can be contacted for recommendation letters (but please do not send letters at this point)

Please send your applications electronically to .

Applications can also be send to the address below.

Robert van Rooij
Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
Universiteit of Amsterdam
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 15
1012 CP Amsterdam
the Netherlands

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