CfA: PhD Candidates, Philosophy of Biology, University of Münster, Germany

Submitted by Ulrich Krohs, University of Muenster.

Start: 1st April 2017. 3-year positions (TV-L E13 65 %).
Deadline for applications: 8th of January, 2017.

The new DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) unites biological, medical, and philosophical research at the University of Münster, Germany. The core idea is to use the theory of evolution to understand processes leading to adaptation and/or disease. 12 PhD students will work on advancing evolutionary theory, and in turn, apply modern evolutionary approaches to medical questions.

Projects in philosophy:

Project C1: Kinds of explanation in accounts of pathogen evolution.
Philosophy of science has recognized various kinds of evolutionary explanations. Evolutionary biology, however, relies also on functional and physiological explanations. It was hardly ever asked how those different kinds of explanation could be blended. The project investigates the spectrum of explanations in evolutionary biology. In particular, it focuses on the intricate cases in which physiological and evolutionary explanations supplement each other, as is the case in the explanation of pathogen evolution in pathogen-host systems. It will also inquire singular evolutionary explanation and relate the findings to arguments about singular causation.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Krohs (

Project C2: Disease, health and enhancement as thick concepts in the context of evolutionary medicine.
Concepts as ‘health’, ‘normality’ (or ‘normal functions’) and ‘quality of life’ do not only have descriptive content, but do have normative content, too, which is used in ethical arguments to forbid enhancement on the one hand and to accept therapy as ethically acceptable in principle. Since empirical findings both in evolutionary biology and evolutionary medicine will cause shifts of meaning concerning ‘normality’, ‘health’, ‘organismic integrity’ or ‘quality of life’ the ethical question — to be examined in this project — arises which consequences this will have for our biomedical ethics especially in the context of evolutionary medicine but for biomedical ethics in general, too.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Quante.

Applications from women are particularly encouraged. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Applications should be sent by e-mail as one PDF file (max. 5 MB) to the EvoPAD Coordinator Dr. Vanessa Kloke ( by January 8th, 2017. Please indicate in the cover letter the project that you would like to apply for and also give a second choice (if wanted).

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by Skype between 17th – 20th January 2017. The most promising candidates will then be invited to Münster to take part in an admissions workshop on 2nd & 3rd February 2017 (travel costs and accommodation will be reimbursed).

For further information visit