PhD position in Philosophy: 20th-Century French Philosophy of Science and Technology

PhD position in Philosophy: 20th-Century French Philosophy of Science and Technology

Published Deadline Location
23 Apr 17 May Maastricht

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 17 May 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

The recent pace and scale of new developments in science and technology have presented our societies with an ever-expanding set of social and political challenges. At the same time, there is a long tradition of philosophers who have critically engaged with science and technology. This history contains valuable but often forgotten insights and tools for the critical evaluation of science and technology. We invite you to join our faculty as a PhD student in philosophy to contribute to the recovery of elements of the history of 20th century French philosophy in order to develop new critical tools for conceptualizing and evaluating contemporary developments in science and technology. You will be part of a broader effort to revisit the history of philosophy in order to enrich and interrogate existing theoretical frameworks, ranging from AI ethics to Science and Technology Studies (STS).

Job Description
We are seeking a highly qualified PhD candidate with a background in philosophy to join our faculty and pursue groundbreaking research in philosophy with a focus on the history of 20th century postwar French philosophy of science and technology.

Within the philosophy of technology, several frameworks have been developed to critically assess contemporary science and technology. Especially in the Netherlands, these methodologies are often associated with the so-called empirical turn (linked to postphenomenology and STS). In recent years, however, attempts have been made to broaden this toolbox and to revisit other traditions that have thought critically about science and technology, ranging from pragmatism to critical theory. If you are the successful candidate, you will contribute to this broadening of the scope of the philosophy of technology by looking at what 20th century French philosophy of science and technology has to offer.

The existing literature on French philosophy of science has mainly focused on the tradition of historical epistemology, in particular the work of Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault. For this project, you will build on this literature, but in particular to explore lesser known figures and traditions. Your project will focus mainly on developments after the Second World War. While it is well known that historical epistemology inspired so-called 'French theory' in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. Althusser, Foucault or Bourdieu), there are other traditions that are less explored. Examples that could potentially be the focus of the PhD project are the biological philosophy of technology (Leroi-Gourhan, Simondon, Stiegler), French phenomenology of science (S. Bachelard, Desanti), philosophical reflections on self-organization processes (Serres, Atlan, Morin), early French analytic philosophy (Granger, Vuillemin), early French new materialism (Serres, Dagognet, Latour) or early French STS (Salomon, Callon, Latour).

Although the selection of authors will be determined on the basis of the candidate's qualifications, the project will have three main aims. First, you will aim to show how within post-war French philosophy of science and technology we can see the development of tools for a political philosophy of science that aims to critically assess science and technology in society. Second, you will contribute to a comparison between what is happening in France and what is happening in other traditions such as STS, critical theory or analytic philosophy of science. Thirdly, you will draw on new developments in the history of philosophy of science, in particular those that have been developed to rewrite the history of logical positivism and early analytic philosophy.

This PhD position is embedded in the Maastricht University Science and Technology Studies Research Group (MUSTS). There you will be supervised by Dr. Darian Meacham and Dr Massimiliano Simons. You will be provided with training on general academic skills in the faculty’s Graduate School. Further training is available through the Dutch national research school in philosophy. As part of this project, you will also work together with a group of other PhD students working topics related to philosophy of technology.

We expect you to:
  • Perform scientific research towards completion of a PhD in Philosophy, with a focus on 20th-century French philosophy of science and technology.
  • Publish results at top-tier (international) conferences and in international journals;
  • Work independently, as well as collaboratively in both research oriented and in applied settings;
  • Assist with educational tasks (e.g., teach at undergraduate level, supervise students and internships).

  • Masters or M.Sc. degree (completed, or to be completed shortly) in Philosophy, Science and Technologies Studies, History of Science, or equivalent;
  • Demonstrated (e.g., through publications, presentations, thesis, projects, etc.) interest and experience with French philosophy of science and technology
  • Proficiency in English (oral and written);
  • Proficiency in French (reading), oral and written skills is a plus;
  • Demonstrated interest and experience with recent philosophy of technology, STS and/or AI ethics is a plus;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a research-oriented environment;

If your profile does not completely meet the above criteria, but you are interested and you want to show us your unique perspective on why you would fit this project, we would still like to hear from you.

What we offer
As PhD position in Philosophy: 20th-Century French Philosophy of Science and Technology at Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded to UFO profile PhD, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €2,770 in the first year and €3,539 gross per month in the fourth year (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.

Maastricht University
Why work at Maastricht University?
At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences FASoS is a close-knit community of approximately 250 staff members and 2100 students. During breaks and before meetings, you can often find us at our favourite local coffee spot Bandito Espresso.

Communication lines within our faculty are short and colleagues are always ready to assist each other. FASoS consists of a highly international student population and a significant part of our staff comes from abroad. Our faculty offers four bachelor programs, eight masters programs and two research master programs that are all characterized by their interdisciplinary approach.

Our research institute studies societies and cultures as they have developed in the modern and contemporary periods. We adopt a radically interdisciplinary approach, analysing the interconnections between Europeanization, globalization, scientific and technological advancement, political change, and cultural innovation.

In addition to teaching and research, our colleagues enjoy expressing themselves creatively. They create podcasts, write poetry as well as fiction.

Working at FASoS means working in a challenging yet informal environment. We believe in crafting your own career path and are always ready to help you in making the most of your job. For more information about FASoS, you can visit our website FASoS

The department of Philosophy participates in all of the faculty's courses. The curriculum's philosophical input is mainly thematically oriented: teaching and research is intended to contribute to conceptual clarification and normative reflection on technological, social, and cultural problems.
The philosophical expertise of the department focuses on three specialist areas or points of special interest relevant to the various Bachelor and Master programmes:
  • philosophy of technology, particularly the ethics and politics of new and emerging technologies
  • the philosophy of art and culture, with an important focus on artistic research
  • political and social philosophy, with a special interest in political culture

Are you interested in this exciting position but still have questions? Feel free to contact Dr Massimiliano Simons at more information.

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new PhD? Apply now, no later than 17 May 2024 for this position.
  • Please upload your CV
  • motivation letter (stating your research interests, the reasons why the PhD project matches your interests and knowledge; what your contribution would be)
  • copy of your MA Thesis
  • contact information of 2 referees

The first interviews preferably take place between 17-21 June. The second interviews will preferably be held between 24-28 June.

The vacancy is open for internal and external candidates. In case of equal qualifications, internal candidates will be prioritized.

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.


Maastricht University (UM)


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 890


Maastricht University (UM)

Learn more about this employer


Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211SZ, Maastricht

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you