Job vacancy in the Department of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Job vacancy in the Department of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum,

Research Group of Prof. Dr. A. Newen

Postdoc Position (for 2 years) or PhD-position (for 3 years)

Start: 1st of October 2023 (at latest 1st of February 2024)

Deadline of application: 25th of July 2023.

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/Functional
Role of Episodic 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 two
years in the case of a postdoc and three years in the case of a
PhD-candidate. The project will be situated in Bochum and developed in a
close collaboration with researchers from other RUB departments in
neuroscience, psychology and computational modelling. 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?
Furthermore: there is an open debate about the functional roles of episodic
memory: how many are there, how they are interconnected and which role do
they play in the self-memory dynamics? We propose to search for an answer
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. One main challenge of this project is the
adequate description of the whole Self-Memory System by also accounting for
the functional roles of episodic memory. 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. Depending on the background and level (PhD or postdoc) the project
can be jointly shaped and constrained.

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, either including
philosophy of self or philosophy of memory, 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 in the field
of theories of self-consciousness or self understanding or concerning
theories of episodic memory or in philosophy of psychiatry with some
knowledge in philosophy of self or philosophy of memory.

Application documents: Please send your application to <>

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