PhD or Postdoc Position in Philosophy

Position available at the Institute of Philosophy II
Ruhr-University Bochum

Call for Applications

Title of the Collaborative Project: “Constructing Scenarios of the Past: The
Interdependence of Episodic Memory and the Self-Model”

Thematic Framework for the Position: Philosophy of
Self-Consciousness/Self-Understanding and/or Philosophy of Memory

At the Institute of Philosophy II of the Ruhr-University in Bochum a
position for a PhD student (65 % TVL) or a postdoc position (100% TVL) is
offered in the area of philosophy of mind and cognition in the research
group of Prof. Albert Newen. The position is available for a period of three
years (with an assessment after the first year). The project will be
situated in Bochum and developed in a close collaboration with philosophers
from other RUB departments. The candidates should be interested in working
out a project within the thematic framework of the position determined by
the research project described now:

Project Description

The leading questions of this philosophical project are: How is the
self-model constituted by episodic memory recall and how is episodic memory
recall shaped by the self-model? One general idea is that the self-model is
constituted by memory processes. If we had no memories (including short-term
memories), then there would be no content in the self-model. In the other
direction, the self-model constrains episodic memory recall by demanding
coherence with prior background beliefs in the self-model. How can we
adequately account for the double role of the self-model, as being
constituted by the memory systems and as constraining episodic recall? The
answer has to be found within our general framework of a generative view of
memory, namely that the recall of an autobiographical episode is based on
triggering relevant memory traces which are used to construct a scenario by
enrichment or modification through semantic information. The project aims to
describe both directions of the interdependence of self-model and memory,
focusing on strong influence of the activated content of the self-model on
the construction of episodic memory. Thus, a main challenge of this project
is the adequate description of the whole Self-Memory System with a detailed
description of the influence of the self-model on recall of autobiographic
episodes. This theoretical project is realized in close collaboration with
an additional empirical fMRI project (guided by Prof. Nikolai Axmacher in
the same Research Group) in which we aim to measure the neural correlates of
the influence of the self-model on episodic recall. Thus, an
interdisciplinary perspective is essential for the project.

Requirements for PhD applicants: The applicants for a PhD-position are
expected to have an excellent M.A. (or Staatsexamen degree) in Philosophy.
Their area of expertise should be in Philosophy of Mind and they should be
familiar with at least one of the following areas: Cognitive Psychology,
Artificial Intelligence or Cognitive Neuroscience.

Requirements for postdoc applicants: Candidates should have an outstanding
PhD in philosophy and, in the ideal case, an additional degree in
psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, psychiatry or neurosciences.
Some substantial expertise in at least one of these areas will be expected.
Furthermore, the candidate is expected to have proven expertise either in
“theories of self-consciousness or self understanding” or concerning
theories of episodic memory.

Application documents: Please send your application to

Your application should consist of two PDF files. The first one is to
include your personal documents: letter of motivation, CV, copies of
certificates and records, list of your publications, talks, conferences you
attended and courses you held; names of 2 referees. The other PDF files to
be attached should be (i) in the case of a postdoc application: your best
two publications (accepted papers count) or the completed PhD-thesis (Ii) in
the case of a PhD application: the completed master thesis or a published
paper if available.

The applicant need not speak German at the time of application but he or she
should be willing to learn German in order to be able to engage in everyday
conversations soon. Candidates should be prepared to participate in weekly
meetings of the research group of Prof. Newen in Bochum.

The position is available from 1st of July 2019. The position is available
for a period of three years (with an assessment after the first year).

Please produce one PDF with all documents and submit them via email until
25th March 2019 to (hard copy submissions cannot be returned):

sekretariat-newen@RUB.DE <mailto:sekretariat-newen@RUB.DE>

Tetiana Adler
Sekretariat Prof. Dr. A. Newen
Institut für Philosophie II
GA 3/151
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Universitätsstr. 150
44801 Bochum
Tel.: (0049) 234-32 28139
Tel.: (0049) 234-32 22711
Fax:  (0049) 234-32 14963

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