CfA: PhD position in Philosophy of Biology/ Metaphysics of Science (Bielefeld University, DFG-Research Group „Inductive Metaphysics“, Deadline: January 1, 2020)

Submitted by Marie I. Kaiser (Bielefeld University).


The Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology (Department of Philosophy) at Bielefeld University offers a

part-time research position (PhD-position)

starting April 1st, 2020

(E13 TV-L, 65%, non-permanent position, for 3 years)

The official job announcement can be found here: (English) (German)


Your Tasks

The advertised position is part of the project on “Complex Biological Dispositions: A Case Study in the Metaphysics of Biological Practice” (PI: Prof. Dr. Marie I. Kaiser) in the DFG-funded research group “Inductive Metaphysics” (FOR 2495,

This project asks what biological dispositions are, how they are individuated, what makes them complex, whether they are extrinsic and come in degrees, and how they relate to their causal basis and to (underlying) biological mechanisms. We address these metaphysical questions by analyzing four paradigmatic examples of dispositions studied in the biological sciences: the pluripotency of stem cells, the boldness of animals, the evolvability of populations, and the sustainability of human actions or development. The project is a study within Inductive Metaphysics, specifically in “metaphysics of biological practice” (Kaiser 2018, 29). We develop metaphysical claims about biological dispositions by using inductive methods that invoke various kinds of empirical information from and about biological practice, such as information about how biologists investigate biological dispositions and about how disposition ascriptions figure in their explanatory practices. The goal of this project is to develop a practice-oriented metaphysical account of biological dispositions, which makes novel contributions to the philosophy of biology and yields interesting consequences for debates about dispositions within the metaphysics of science.


Your responsibilities

  • conduct independent research in the context of the project described above and in related areas (80 %)
  • actively participate in the regular meetings and events of the research group (10 %)
  • contribute to organizing workshops and other events (5 %)
  • organizational tasks that are part of the self-administration of the university (5 %)


We expect

  • university degree (Master or Diploma) in a discipline that is relevant to the project (e.g. philosophy, philosophy of science, biology, life sciences, science studies)
  • willingness to work with colleagues in an interdisciplinary setting
  • ability to work as a member of a team
  • autonomous and active manner of working
  • excellent coordination and organization skills
  • good proficiency in written and spoken English


Application Procedure

Please send your application by email (a single PDF) to by January 1st, 2020. Please mark your application with the identification code: wiss19304. To apply, please provide: (i) a letter of motivation including a statement of your research interests, motivation and expectation from being part of the research group/project; (ii) a CV including information about academic education and degrees, and, where it applies, professional experience, publications, fellowships/awards, conference contributions, and further relevant skills and abilities; (iii) transcript of records of your Master studies; (iv) short summary of your Master’s thesis (1 page); (v) a letter of recommendation. The application can be written in German or English.



Name: Prof. Dr. Marie I. Kaiser

Phone: +49 521 106-4605