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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Two PhD student positions in philosophy (philosophy of physics, logic), Rotterdam, THE NETHERLANDS

Faculty of Philosophy
Erasmus University Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Two Phd Positions available for the philosophical project:
The Structure of Reality and the Reality of Structure
This project in philosophy (philosophy of physics, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science) seeks to
develop a comparably novel answer to the venerable ontological question of what there fundamentally
is and what ontologically grounds everything else. The project is guided by two theses:

(A) The metaphysical thesis of Structuralism, according to which all that exists, everything there is,
either is structure or is ontologically grounded in structure; and

(B) The epistemic thesis that our scientific knowledge about what there fundamentally is and what
ontologically grounds everything else ?? which knowledge is stored in a few well-confirmed modern
physical theories (quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, the special and the general theory of
relativity) ?? is structural, aka structural realism.

PhD project 1: Theory and Truth of Structure
In collaboration with the post-doc (and the catalytic leader of the project, F.A. Muller), a rigorous
theory needs to be constructed that takes the concept of structure and its features as primitives, as
well as an axiomatic truth theory for this novel theory of structure, which should be the formal side of
a structuralist truth-maker theory.
Requirements: masters philosophy, knowledge of logic, philosophy of science and metaphysics;
enthusiasm for the project.

PhD project 2: Ontic Ruptures in 20th Century Physics
Structural realists claim that structure is by and large preserved during ontic ruptures in the history of
physics, and that epistemic progress generally resides, not in trading in structures wholesale, but in
refining and extending known structures. The project consists in performing two elaborate case
studies, one of the Quantum Revolution and the other of the Relativity Revolution, with the aim to
find out whether the claims of structural realism are true or false. Ideally the findings of PhD project 1
will be used in this project.

Requirements: masters philosophy, knowledge of philosophy of science, of (mathematical)
physics and philosophy of physics; enthusiasm for the project.
There is ample room in the 1st year of appointment for acquiring additional knowledge to execute
these projects successfully. You will be a member of research group of four members: the two PhD?s,
one post-doc and the leader of the pack, dr F.A. Muller.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities
(CAO-NU). Indication monthly salary (gross figures, tax is about one third): 2.1 kE, 2.4 kE (2nd
year), 2.5 kE (3rd), 2.7 kE (4th). Candidate's performance is evaluated after 18 months and if

positive, the contract is extended for 2.5 years.
Intended starting date: 1 September 2013.
Deadline for applications (CV and grades included): 1 May 2013.
Send to: f.a.muller@fwb.eur.nl [as PDF, all in a single file].
Same e-address for more information whenever needed.