CfA: Two PhD positions in Philosophy of Biology (University of Muenster and Bielefeld University, Deadline for applications: January 15, 2018)

Submitted by Marie Kaiser (Bielefeld University).

Two PhD positions in Philosophy of Biology (TV-L E13 65%) Deadline for applications: January, 15th, 2018

A collaborative research centre (SFB) has recently been funded by the German Research Foundation for the period 2018 to 2021 to produce a conceptual and empirical synthesis of individualisation across behaviour, ecology and evolution. The SFB consists of 19 projects and integrates empirical and theoretical research in organismal biology with philosophical research on the theoretical assumptions, explanatory strategies and concepts that are central to the SFB, such as the concept of an individualized niche. The SFB will provide exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and academic networking, together with structured training, scientific exchange and early career support programmes. For more information, please visit the website:

PhD projects in philosophy:

Project D01: Function and fitness – conceptual issues
(PI: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Krohs, University of Muenster,
Adequate explications of the concepts of function and of fitness are still a matter of vivid philosophical debate. The project aims at sharpening the explications by considering the use of the concepts in the new explanatory context of an individualised niche. We will analyse their explanatory roles in theories of niche choice, niche conformance, and niche construction. Besides the in principle-roles, we will also look at explanations resulting from empirical research in the SFB.

Project D02: The ontological status of individualised niches
(PI: J.Prof. Dr. Marie I. Kaiser, Bielefeld University,
The central goal is to explicate what individualised ecological niches are (i.e., what their ontological status is) and how they relate to mechanisms of niche choice, conformance, and construction. This project thus analyses three concepts that play a central role in the SFB: the concept of biological individuality, the concept of an individualised (social) niche, and the concept of an ecological or evolutionary mechanism. The aim is to specify the meaning of these concepts, their ontological presuppositions, and their interrelations.

To apply, please provide: (i) a letter of motivation including a statement of your research interests, motivation and expectation from being part of the SFB; (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; (iv) Master’s thesis abstract; (v) 1-2 letters of recommendation, e.g., from former supervisors.
All materials should be emailed as a single PDF file to and to Please specify in your application the project that you would like to apply for. If you wish to apply for more than one project in the SFB, please indicate this in your application. The application deadline is January 15th 2018 and interviews will take place shortly thereafter. After the decision, the positions should start as soon as possible.

Please note that the official advertisements for the positions can be found here:
Project D01:
Project D02: will be available online soon
General advertisement: will be available online soon