The University of Southampton seeks to appoint two Research Fellows in Philosophy on a four-year fixed-term basis, who will work on Prof. Genia Schoenbaumsfeld’s ERC Advanced Grant ‘The Ethics of Doubt – Kierkegaard, Scepticism and Conspiracy Theory’.
This exciting, five-year project seeks to explore the hypothesis that scepticism is not just an intellectual problem to be combatted by offering a theory that manages to salvage some knowledge from the clutches of the radical sceptic, but also an ethical one that engages the whole person of the doubter. In order to investigate this hypothesis, the project is centred around the work of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, whose existential approach to scepticism conceives of radical doubt as primarily an ethical problem caused by the presence of various vices, such as a lack of courage and a fear of freedom and responsibility, for example. If Kierkegaard is right about this, scepticism cannot just be approached in the way contemporary analytic epistemology assumes: by either seeking a theoretical response to, or a theoretical accommodation with, radical doubt. Rather, it may require something that analytic accounts tend to leave out altogether: personal transformation and character development. Given that scepticism is also at work in wider cultural phenomena such as the flourishing of conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’, Kierkegaard’s conception that knowledge requires courage has great importance and significance beyond academia as well.
The project is hosted by the Philosophy Department at the University of Southampton, which was ranked 6th in REF2021 by overall GPA and 1st equal for impact. The University of Southampton is a founding member of the Russell Group, a top 100 global university (QS World Rankings, 2023) and top 15 in the UK (Complete University Guide, 2023).
You will be part of the project team led by the award holder (PI), working closely with the other project Research Fellows, as well as the project PhD students. You will benefit from regular team meetings and play an active role in the organization and promotion of project events, such as workshops and conferences.
You will show outstanding potential as a philosopher and have expertise in one or more central areas of the project: Kierkegaard, scepticism, virtue epistemology, conspiracy theory. A willingness to engage with and learn more about the areas of the project not in your primary area of expertise is a requirement. Good administrative and digital skills are an advantage.
You will have a PhD in Philosophy by the date of appointment as well as be able to supervise project research students. Please include a covering letter, a full CV and a sample of written work in your application.
You should be able to take up the post by Monday 2nd October 2023.
Informal enquiries about the positions and the project may be addressed to the award holder and PI, Prof. Genia Schoenbaumsfeld ([email protected] ).
We are committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity by attracting, developing and retaining staff from many different backgrounds to promote an inclusive environment. Philosophy at Southampton subscribes to the BPA/SWIP Best Practice scheme; and the University of Southampton is proud to have been awarded an institutional Athena Swan Silver Award and a Race Equality Charter Bronze Award
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