Post-doc in ERC project 'The Social Epistemology of Argumentation'

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Post-doc in ERC project 'The Social Epistemology of Argumentation'
  • Doctorate
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The post-doc position will be embedded in Prof. Catarina Dutilh Novaes’ ERC-funded project ‘The Social Epistemology of Argumentation’, which is devoted to investigating the contribution of argumentation to processes of production and circulation of knowledge and other epistemic resources in a number of spheres, in particular in science and public/political discourse. This post-doc position is intended for the investigation of scientific argumentative practices. Science is one of our best examples of a disciplined system of collective epistemic activity, and argumentation plays a crucial role in these practices. Because scientists seek to persuade peers to accept their findings, scientific evidence must predominantly be produced by intersubjective methods that can be verified and replicated so as to count as convincing arguments supporting the theories in question. The post-doc will investigate methods of scientific knowledge production, trust, communication, information exchange, and validation in different branches of science. The postdoc project will be carried out in collaboration with the principal investigator, Catarina Dutilh Novaes, and PhD students and other post-docs in the project. The position includes ample funding for research and travel. A full description of the ERC project is available upon request. Candidates are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the project when writing their letter of application, so that they can describe how they see themselves contributing to the project.

Your duties

• Conduct research on the project topic, resulting in several papers in international peer-reviewed journals
• Participate in the teaching and research activities of the Theoretical Philosophy group, depending on the candidate’s needs and availability
• Co-supervise PhD students
• Participate in the university’s grant-writing support program and submit at least one proposal to a national or international funding agency
• Co-organize and coordinate project workshops and other events


The candidate should have a PhD degree (or an approved thesis and a set defense date) in Philosophy with specialization in philosophy of science (broadly construed). Outstanding candidates with degrees in relevant fields such as sociology, psychology, cognitive science, communication studies etc. will also be considered, provided they also have some background in philosophy. The candidate should have a strong academic record and demonstrable affinity with social epistemology and argumentation theory. Familiarity with formal methods such as logic, probabilities, computer simulations and/or network theory is desirable. Excellent spoken and written English as well as strong academic writing skills are essential.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,709 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,274 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension for up to 3 years in total. The starting date is September 1st 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.

About the department
The Department of Philosophy, which is one of three departments of the Faculty of Humanities, is a vibrant and international community of philosophers committed to high-quality teaching and research in various areas of philosophy. The Theoretical Philosophy group, where the advertised position will be based, is widely recognized as an outstanding research group, with strengths in particular in epistemology and philosophy of science.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and a cover letter where you describe how you see yourself contributing to the project until 1 May 2020. The job interviews through video conference are planned for the week of May 11th (no campus visits).

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Catarina Dutilh Novaes
Position: principal investigator

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