We are looking for a PhD candidate who has experience in the philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind (especially in the philosophy of animal cognition), and/or action theory, to be a part of the project Plant Agency: Inferring Mental Capacities from Plant Behavior. This is a full-time position with teaching duties. The candidate will be a part of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science at KU Leuven and is expected to participate in its activities. Please read on for a more detailed description of the project, the position, and the application procedure.Website unit
Mainstream behavioral biology and analytic philosophy commonly treat plants as patients. That is, due to being sessile and lacking a central nervous system, they are thought to be bound to a passive existence without much need or capacity for behavior. New research in plant signaling and communication has uncovered capacities in plants that challenge this view. Not only do plants show an impressive range of behaviors, some of these behaviors appear to be cognitive (e.g., habitual and associative learning, memory and recollection, cross-modal perception). There is thus a need to reconsider how we conceptualize plants, whether we need to treat them as agents—as organisms that purposely act on and in their world in a multitude of ways. The philosophy of plant behavior and cognition has hitherto primarily been concerned with establishing how the non-neural physiological signaling mechanisms found in plants can give rise to cognition. Less attention has been given to the question of what possessing cognitive or mental capacities amounts to for sessile organisms without brains. This project aims to do just that—to develop useful concepts for inquiring whether certain plant capacities and behaviors are indicative of mind, cognition, or other mental properties. It aims to help establish the philosophical foundations for a cognitive plant ethology.
The candidate must have a MA degree in philosophy (obtained by August 31st 2021) and meet the admission requirements of the PhD program of the Institute of Philosophy (for more information see https://admin.kuleuven.be/rd/doctoraatsreglement/en/phdregulation-ip#section-3).
The application should be submitted through this web portal. The application should contain a brief project proposal (1000-1250 words) that fits with the project, a CV, a cover letter, as well as 2 letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation should be sent directly from its author to Prof. Grant Ramsey (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than the application deadline. The application deadline is August 20th 2021, 23:59 (CET).
The candidate will work under the supervision of Prof. Grant Ramsey and in close collaboration with Dr. Bendik Hellem Aaby, who will serve as a postdoctoral fellow on the project. The position is generously funded, and in addition to the salary, some funds will be available for conference travel. The candidate will have some teaching duties, either leading small seminars or working as a teaching assistant (or similar tasks, such as proctoring or correcting exams). This usually amounts to 1-2 classes per academic year. Finally, the candidate is expected to participate in the activities of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science. This consists of biweekly seminars and “brown-bag” discussions.Start date: October 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.
For any questions concerning the application, the project or the position, do not hesitate to contact Prof. Grant Ramsey (email@example.com) or Dr. Bendik Hellem Aaby (firstname.lastname@example.org).You can apply for this job no later than August 20, 2021 via the online application toolKU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.