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Research Fellow - AR2930ML

University of St Andrews - School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies

Location: St Andrews
Salary: £37,099 to £40,251 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 10th January 2024
Closes: 30th April 2024
Job Ref: 415911

Fixed Term: 48 months, Start: 1 January 2025

Applications are sought for a Research Fellow (postdoc) to work with Principal Investigator (PI) Prof. Franz Berto, conducting research at the Arché Research Centre at the Department of Philosophy.  

The postdoc will work in a 4-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, starting on 1st January 2025, and entitled ‘What if…? Knowing by imagining (WIKI). The Logic and Rationality of Imagination’. This will be a four-year, full time research job.  

Here follows a short description of the WIKI project:  

‘What if?'-counterfactual questions are of momentous importance for scientific explanations (‘Would we see that particle track if the atom was ionized?’), to ascertain responsibilities (‘Would he have hit the brakes, had he not been distracted?’), to choose what to do (‘Would I get to the other side if I jumped the stream?’). We address them by imagining that a hypothetical situation obtains and wondering what would follow. But how can imagination give us knowledge of reality, if it's free departure from reality? WIKI will apply in the philosophy of imagination tools from formal epistemology, in particular epistemic and probabilistic logic, to address this issue. If we start by taking counterfactual imagination as a kind of simulated belief revision, we can then analyze it using formal theories of belief revision, in qualitative (focusing on full, all-or-nothing belief) and quantitative clothing (focusing on credences/degrees of belief). In three interrelated subprojects, WIKI will (1) develop a logic and formal epistemology of imagination as suppositional thinking, (2) apply them to analyse the workings of scientific thought experiments, and (3) compare them to empirical results from the psychology of reasoning, to provide an account of how we can become better hypothetical reasoners.  

The post is available for 48 months starting on 1st January 2025.

Employees of the University have access to a wide range of staff benefits including:           

  • Annual leave of 34 days, plus 5 public holidays         
  • Membership of the USS Pension Scheme with generous employer contributions         
  • A range of family friendly policies        
  • Staff discount scheme for local and national goods and services       
  • Free staff parking, employee Carshare and Cycle to Work Schemes and subsidised local bus travel        
  • Subsidised sports membership, reduced tuition fees on degree programmes for staff/children of staff, access to library facilities, salary sacrifice scheme and a range of wellbeing initiatives  

For further details on the project and inquiries, contact the PI Franz Berto (fb96@st-andrews.ac.uk).   

Applications are particularly welcome from women, people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented in research posts at the University.    

Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the St Andrews experience. We strive to create a fair and inclusive culture demonstrated through our commitment to diversity awards (Athena Swan, Carer Positive, LGBT Charter and Race Charters). We celebrate diversity by promoting profiles of BAME, LGBTIQ+ staff and supporting networks including the Staff BAME Network; Staff with Disabilities Network; Staff LGBTIQ+ Network; and the Staff Parents & Carers Network. Full details available online: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/

Closing Date: 30 April 2024

Please quote ref: AR2930ML

Job Talk and Interview dates (online/links to be provided)

10 and 11 June 2024

Further Particulars: AR2930ML FPs.doc

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