Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven), The Netherlands

Post-doctoral position in the Philosophy of Technology / Epistemology / Logic.

Deadline: 01.05.2003

The Section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology invites applications for the above post (3 years) with effect from 1 September 2003.

Most theories of knowledge are concerned with descriptive knowledge. Functional knowledge, however, is very different from this type of knowledge. This can be seen through the rich normative context which functional knowledge creates. The ascription of a proper function to an artifact, for instance, specifies what the artifact ought to do. Such a function ascription allows for a normative evaluation in terms of functioning well or badly. In addition, the knowledge of an artifact’s function is related in a non-trivial way with its proper use. In order to realize its proper function, it ought to be used in certain ways. Finally, the ascription of a function to an artifact allows for normative statements that compare artifacts in terms of better or worse (“this disk is better than that one”).

The successful candidate will be expected to explore and conceptualize the normative aspects of functional knowledge and their relations. In particular, (s)he will investigate the normativity of functional knowledge by exploring ways in which to formalize its normative aspects. Formalization is, in this context, not an aim in itself. Rather, it is a method with which to refine our notion of normativity in functional knowledge, and which is to be used in such a way as to achieve a mutually productive relation between epistemological and logical research. As the project is primarily concerned with conceptual analysis, the development of a semantics for function ascriptions will be a necessity. We see Castañeda’s preparatory analysis of ought-statements as an example of the way in which this may be achieved.

The research project described above is part of the The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) funded research programme Norms in Knowledge of the Section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology. The research programme is carried out in close co-operation with other Dutch and foreign universities. The successful candidate for this position, for instance, will conduct research under the supervision of Professor Sven Ove Hansson for one semester at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden). In addition (s)he may work together with Professor Wiebe van der Hoek of The University of Liverpool (UK).

The salary associated with this position initially is between € 2.103 and € 3.885 per month, depending on the successful candidate’s background. Benefits are good. A knowledge of Dutch is (initially) not required for this position.

Applicants are asked to send a CV, a list of relevant publications, and the names and contact details of (at least) two referees together with a covering letter (in which the vacancy code V39.333 is stated) to The Managing Director, ir. M. J. M. Verbruggen, Department of Technology Management, Eindhoven University of Technology, TEMA 1.32, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands – Fax: +31 (0) 40 247 5712.


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