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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

PhD student position and student research assistant position in philosophy / psychology / cognitive science, GERMANY

Munich (Germany)

Dr. Niki Pfeifer (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich) offers under the usual 
equal opportunity conditions one doctoral researcher position (65%, TV-L 13, up to 3 years) and 
one student research assistant to work in the intersection of philosophy, psychology and cognitive
science. The doctoral researcher will focus on the empirical work (developing the research 
hypotheses, designing the experiments and running the data analysis). The student assistant will 
assist in constructing the experimental material, collect the data and prepare the data for 
analysis. Opportunities for the doctoral researcher to prepare a PhD thesis and for the student 
assistant to prepare a Masters' thesis within the project (see below) will be provided. Working 
language is English. The positions will be vacant until filled. For an application send an email 
including the following items to

1. a letter of motivation
2. a curriculum vitae
3. a scan of the most recent academic degrees 4. evidence of English and mathematical skills (e.g., school/university
5. additional requirement for the PhD position: two confidential letters of reference addressing 
the applicant's qualifications for doctoral research are required. These should be sent from the 
referees directly.

Selection criteria include

1. Academic excellence (publications are a plus) 
2. Research ability and potential 
3. Motivation 
4. Knowledge of logic, probability, statistics, psychological experimentation, and/or programming are a plus

Project Details

Title: Rational reasoning with conditionals and probabilities. Logical foundations and empirical 
evaluation Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Kern-Isberner (TU Dortmund) & Dr. Niki Pfeifer 
(LMU Munich)
Funding: German Research Foundation (Priority program "New Frameworks of
Duration: Three years
Start: TBA
Abstract: This project combines logic-based theories of rationality provided by nonmonotonic 
logics and approaches to conditional reasoning, and probabilistic theories of rationality based 
on coherence approaches and the principle of maximum entropy. Conditionals will serve as a 
common interface between all these approaches, since they encode crucial guidelines for rational 
reasoning and can be used both in a qualitative and in a probabilistic way. This provides a 
unifying perspective on rationality that helps to overcome the limits of specific frameworks 
and also allows for taking information from the environment into account. We aim to extend 
axiomatic systems of nonmonotonic logics (like system P) to better approximate rational reasoning.
In particular, the theory of conditional structures shall be used to develop formal models of 
rational conditional reasoning, both in qualitative and probabilistic frameworks. On the 
probabilistic side, the coherence approach will be utilized and extended to investigate 
formally and empirically current psychological and philosophical theories of conditionals. 
The descriptive value of the formal models shall be evaluated with respect to people's 
understanding and reasoning with uncertain conditionals. Moreover, the relevance of the methods 
to be developed in this project to causal and counterfactual reasoning and for belief revision 
shall be investigated.