Doctoral fellow

Last application date
Jun 30, 2022 00:00
LW01 - Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences
Limited duration
Master’s degree in Philosophy or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

This project proposes a historical and systematic study of German and French intellectual projects between 1870 and 1940 labelled 'Philosophy of Life,' 'Biological Philosophy,' and 'Philosophical Anthropology.' The core hypothesis is that they share an alternative conception of philosophy, called here heterodox naturalism, which (1) resists reductive naturalisms as well as idealist and analytical approaches, and (2) seeks to articulate an expansive notion of 'life' not restricted to that provided by the natural sciences. The project will clarify how these non-reductive conceptions of life aimed at rethinking the specificity of human beings as living entities, and were driven to articulate an alternative approach of knowledge by the institutional settings of the time. Three dimensions are focused upon: 1) their alternative conception of philosophy, requiring a meta-philosophical analysis of the positions at stake; 2) their conceptions of life, as well as their conceptions of human uniqueness to which these lead, requiring conceptual and terminological analyses; and 3) the sociological and institutional factors to which they responded, requiring a sociologically-driven analysis. The project draws upon the results of an ongoing FWO-project on “Vitalism – A Counter-History of Biology”, and purports to project, as did the latter one, its results to our current era, with attention for the place of the humanities in an academic institution mainly driven by naturalistic concerns.

Description of your Work Package
We are specifically interested in candidates who can work on the parts of the project that deal 1) with the first appearance of the notion of “philosophy of life” in the 20th century as a result of a controversy over “biologism” involving Heinrich Rickert and Max Scheler and 2) with the development of the philosophical anthropologies of Scheler, Plessner, and Gehlen from and within philosophy of life in the interbellum.

Job profile

  • You have a Master’s degree in Philosophy or equivalent, or can attest that you will be awarded this degree by the starting date of the position.
  • You have a demonstrable background in the history of philosophy, specifically post-Kantian French and German philosophy, preferably on a topic closely related to that of the project.
  • You are fluent in English, and can at least read French and/or German at a high level. Although Ghent University is a Dutch-speaking institution, the position does not require knowledge of Dutch.
  • You are willing and able to relocate to or near Ghent for the duration of the project.
  • You are willing and able to work in a group project and to contribute to the intellectual life of the research group and the department.

How to apply

Apply by sending your application to . Applications should include:

  • Cover letter in which you address your qualifications and your fit for the position.
  • CV.
  • Transcript of your grades in your Masters
  • One writing sample in English of no more than 8000 Words. The writing sample can be an article or a draft of an article, a long term paper or a (part of a) thesis.

One letter of reference should be sent separately by your reference to