Postdoc: Socially Disruptive Technologies and Conceptual Change

Postdoc: Socially Disruptive Technologies and Conceptual Change

Published Deadline Location
26 May 21 Jun Eindhoven

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The Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e) is looking for a Philosophy & Ethics Postdoc
Postdoc: Socially Disruptive Technologies and Conceptual Change
Starting date: preferably September 1 (January 1 at the latest)

Job description

Research Program 'Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies'

This Postdoc position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies research program, a new 10 year long international program (2020-29) of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands. This programme has a combined budget of € 27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating institutions.

The programme has the aim of achieving breakthrough research at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology / engineering and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like 'nature', 'human being' and 'community'), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts.  The program includes four research lines, 'Nature, life and human intervention', 'The future of a free and fair society', 'The human condition' and 'Synthesis: Ethics of Technology, Practical Philosophy, and Modern Technology-Driven Societies'. The Postdoc project we advertise will be part of the Synthesis research line.

Please note that there are other vacancies in the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies program at different participating universities. In case several are of interest to you, we want to encourage you to apply to them as well.

The Postdoc project

One of the central ideas of the gravitation program is that the new generation of socially disruptive technologies will challenge and even change key concepts with which we understand and evaluate ourselves, our social world and natural environment. These concepts include agency, responsibility, autonomy, democracy, and nature.

It is, however, not evident what this conceptual change amounts to. The main aim of this project is to understand what conceptual change in the context of socially disruptive technologies actually can mean. Concepts may change over time in several relevant respects. These include the meaning or intension, the scope or extension, and the preciseness or fuzziness. Conceptual change may be driven by internal developments in a scientific discipline, but also by external developments in society, such as technological developments or by normative developments.

'We are looking for a candidate who will be able to theorize how conceptual change takes place in relation to moral and ontological concepts, what kinds of changes occur, and how they are induced, both in general and in relation to technological change.  This will involve the development and deployment of theories of concepts, and case studies of conceptual change, particularly of moral and ontological concepts.  For example, of the concept of privacy: how has it changed over time  and in what relevant respects?'


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


Your Profile

You hold a Ph.D degree in philosophy, and have a background in philosophy of language, logic, philosophy of science, or conceptual history of philosophy, and should have affinity with cognitive science and ethics.

The TU/e is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. As we aim to increase the diversity in our Section Philosophy & Ethics and in the field of philosophy, we especially encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

Conditions of employment

We offer you a 3 year Post-Doc, starting September 1 (or soon thereafter), 2020. The gross salary is between €3255 and  €4274 per month (with full social security benefits). Additionally, Eindhoven University of Technology provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amounting to 8% of the annual salary), an end-of-year bonus (amounting to 8.3%), and a number of additional benefits.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society; Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • V39.4474


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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