Postdoctoral position

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The Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology at Bielefeld University (Department of Philosophy) has the following job opening: Postdoctoral Position. The position - that will be filled subject to funding commitment - is based in the ERC research group 'REASONS F1RST – The Structure of Normativity' (PI: Benjamin Kiesewetter) and the successful candidate will be expected to take over project tasks, teaching load as well as tasks in the academic self-administration of the PI. 

Project description:

Some of the core fields of philosophy – including moral philosophy, value theory, and epistemology – are, at their heart, concerned with normative questions: questions about what is good or bad, right or wrong, justified or unjustified. These questions concern the content of judgements that human beings are constantly making and that structure our way of thinking, feeling, and acting. But while there is wide agreement in contemporary philosophy that normative judgements form a unified and important category of human thought, philosophers still struggle to understand what normativity actually is. One highly attractive hypothesis is that normativity can be analysed in terms of reasons – i.e. in terms of the factors that count in favour of or against actions or attitudes. The aim of REASONS F1RST is to systematically explore this Reasons-First Approach on a large scale and across various philosophical subdisciplines. Fostering multidisciplinary conversations between moral philosophy, epistemology, value theory, aesthetics, the philosophy of emotions, and related areas, the project will develop novel analyses of normative phenomena. It also seeks to address recent challenges to the Reasons-First Approach and to compare it to competing approaches. REASONS F1RST thus pursues a twofold objective: (i) to assess the merits and demerits of the Reasons-First Approach compared to alternative proposals, and (ii) to work out in detail how different normative phenomena – including values, obligations and rights, the justification of beliefs, as well as appropriateness norms for emotions – can be explained in terms of reasons.

The work programme of REASONS F1RST will be carried out in four sub-projects: (1) 'Reasons and Value' (2) 'Reasons and Ought' (3) 'Reasons and Knowledge' and (4) 'Reasons and Fittingness'. According to our present plans, the advertised position is associated with sub-project (2). However, we will also consider applications from candidates whose research interests concern other aspects of the project. Further information on the project is available at

Your Tasks

  • conduct independent research in the context of the project and adjoining areas (50 %)
  • 4 teaching hours in the area of practical philosophy in all BA/MA programs in philosophy (in English or German) (30 %)
  • actively participate in the regular meetings and events of the research group and contribute to organizing workshops and other events (10 %)
  • organizational tasks that are part of the self-administration of the university (10 %)

Employment is conducive to scientific qualification.

We offer

  • salary according to Remuneration level 13 TV-L
  • befristet (4 ½ years) (§ 2 (1) sentence 2 of the WissZeitVG; in accordance with the provisions of the WissZeitVG and the Agreement on Satisfactory Conditions of Employment, the length of contract may differ in individual cases)
  • Vollzeit
  • internal and external training opportunities
  • amount of health, consulting and prevention services
  • reconcilability of family and working life

Your Profile

We expect

  • a scientific university degree (e.g. Master) in philosophy
  • PhD in analytical philosophy
  • a documented research focus in the area of the relevant sub-project (e.g. theoretical ethics, meta-ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind)
  • research achievements relevant to the project, which can be demonstrated by internationally peer-reviewed publications
  • a cooperative and team-oriented style of work
  • an autonomous, self-reliant and committed manner of working and the willingness to take a formative role within the research group
  • strong coordination and organization skills
  • good proficiency in written and spoken English
  • teaching experience in practical philosophy, a professional understanding of teaching oriented towards further didactic training, as well as the ability and willingness to teach flexibly and broadly beyond one's own research focus on topics in practical philosophy (esp. applied ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics) and to adjust the preparation of teaching content to the requirements profile of Bielefeld students

Preferred experience and skills

  • an independent research proposal that is closely related to the project
  • experience in organizing scientific events
  • international experience in academia

Application Procedure: We are looking forward to receiving your application. For full consideration, your application should be received via either email (a single PDF document is required) sent to or post (see postal address). Please mark your application with the identification code: Wiss23041. Please do not submit any original documents, as the application documents will be destroyed after the selection process.

In addition to the usual documents (curriculum vitae, a list of publications, copies of certificates and, if available, a list of courses taught and teaching evaluations from a maximum of two courses), your application should include:

  • a cover letter including a statement of your research interests, motivation, and expectations of working in the research group with reference to the subproject in which you would like to work (max. 2 pages)
  • a research proposal relevant to the project (max. 3 pages)
  • a summary of your dissertation (max. 3 pages)
  • your dissertation
  • an essay exemplary of your research (preferably published or accepted for publication in an international peer-reviewed journal) (max. 30 pages)

The application can be written in either German or English. For further information, please visit the website of Bielefeld University (

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application deadline: 03.03.2023

ERC Grant “The Structure of Normativity”

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Kiesewetter
Chair of Practical Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Bielefeld University
P/O 100131, 33501 Bielefeld
Email: normativity(at)uni-bielefeld(dot)de

Design & Development: Studio Nina Reisinger