Call for applications –RTG “Situated Cognition”:

1 PhD position in Philosophy or Cognitive

The interdisciplinary Research Training (RTG) Group Situated Cognition, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), invites applications for

1 Ph.D. position (salary scale TV-L E 13, 65%; including social benefits)

for a three-year structured PhD program.

The program will commence June 1st, 2017 and the candidate should be prepared to start then with eleven other PhD candidates, forming a Research Training Group which is jointly based at the Department of Philosophy II and the Faculty of Psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum and at the Institute of Cognitive Science and the Department of Philosophy at Osnabrück University.

The PhD candidate for this position will be based in Bochum and work on an essentially interdisciplinary project with an emphasis on philosophical theory formation regarding either (a) situated aspects of perception, supervised by Prof. Dr. Tobias Schlicht, or (b) situated aspects of social understanding, supervised by Prof. Dr. Albert Newen. Ideally, the second supervisor will be an empirical scientist.

(a) The situated view of perception and action departs from classical views in a number of ways by introducing dynamical models emphasizing bodily and environmental aspects of perception. Various questions arise, some of which can be addressed in this project: Does action constitute or merely enable perception and in which ways? What are the cognitive presuppositions for an agent to bring to bear know how in mastering the sensorimotor contingencies between herself and objects in her environment? Are situated views of perception compatible with recent predictive processing approaches to perception and how should we characterize the (representational) commitments of these latter approaches? Details of the project will be determined with the candidate.

b) A situated theory of social understanding aims to discuss all aspects of the development of social understanding including the false belief task and its various interpretations. Furthermore, the project will discuss the main theoretical accounts including Theory Theory, Simulation Theory, Interaction Theory and Person Model Theory. One aim is to clarify which aspects of social understanding are embodied, enacted, embedded or extended. Another aim could be to discuss how the predictive coding framework can be used to improve a theory of social understanding. Details of the project will be determined with the candidate.


Applicants can indicate a preference and submit their own original project proposal in one of the theoretical areas, as long as the proposal fits the RTG’s guiding idea. Information about the guiding ideas of the RTG and the PhD projects, can be found here


APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 15th, 2017

Required qualifications:

Candidates applying for or suggesting a theoretical project are expected to have an excellent M.A., M.Sc. (or Staatsexamen degree) in Philosophy or Cognitive Science. They should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Action, or Philosophy of Perception. Furthermore, we expect advanced knowledge in at least one of the following areas: Cognitive Psychology, Behavioral Biology, Artificial Intelligence, or Neuroscience.

Applications should include the usual documents, i.e.:

  • application form pdf docx
  • a letter of motivation including the applicant’s research interests and motivation to work within the RTG
  • curriculum vitae
  • copies of certificates
  • writing sample: the core chapter of the Diploma/Master thesis or preferably one relevant publication (if available)
  • in case the MA certificate is not yet available: confirmation that MA-thesis has been submitted
  • optional: an outline of an original theoretical project (1-2 pages) which fits into the RTG’s framework (see PhD Projects and the websites of the PIs)

Please send all the required documents in a single PDF file, except for the writing sample which should be contained in a separate PDF file.

As certified family-friendly institutions, Osnabrück University and Ruhr-University Bochum are committed to furthering the compatibility between work/studies and family life.

Osnabrück University and Ruhr-University Bochum are highly committed equal opportunity employers and strive to work towards a gender balance in schools or departments where new appointments are made

Equally qualified applicants with disabilities will be favored.


Applications and inquiries should be addressed to:

Prof. Dr. Albert Newen, Speaker RTG

Ruhr University of Bochum

email: RTG-SituatedCognition@rub.de