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Fully Funded PhD position in Philosophy of Social Science (1.0 fte)

We offer a four-year PhD fellowship on the project Qualitative and Quantitative Social Science: Unifying the Logic of Causal Inference. This full-time fellowship will lead to your completing a doctoral dissertation and defending it at ...

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Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


We offer a four-year PhD fellowship on the project Qualitative and Quantitative Social Science: Unifying the Logic of Causal Inference. This full-time fellowship will lead to your completing a doctoral dissertation and defending it at the Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, with a view to obtaining the degree of PhD.

The project looks at the challenges that show up when social scientists want to find out the causes and effects of social phenomena. For example, when social scientists ask questions such as: what are the causes of the wage gap between different ethnic groups? what difference do economic institutions make to economic growth? does the death penalty lower crime? does resource wealth drive violent conflict? does the consumption of pornography increase violence against women?
In particular, the project compares and contrasts the role of qualitative evidence (such as comparative case studies in political science or structured interviews in sociology) with the role of quantitative evidence (analyzed by statistical techniques developed in political science or econometrics, for example).
The fellowship is open for projects in the philosophy of the social sciences in which the focus of the research is the distinction between qualitative and quantitative evidence in the social sciences.
The project is funded by the European Research Council, and is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University Rotterdam.
For more details of the project itself, you can click on the “Project Summary” tab at www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/programmes/qualitative-and-quantitative-social-science-unifying-the-logic-of-causal-in
For the full application profile, you can view:


As the successful candidate:
• You will have completed (or be near to completing) a master’s degree in philosophy by the time that you take up your fellowship. Master’s degrees in other subjects will also be acceptable if you show a serious interest in analytical, conceptual, methodological, or normative issues.
• Your academic work and record demonstrates your ability to argue rigorously, to structure your ideas clearly, and to engage with academic literatures critically and creatively.
• You are highly motivated to pursue doctoral work in one of the topics specified above, or in a related topic in the philosophy of the social sciences that touches on the qualitative versus quantitative divide.
• You have a good command of English, and strong communication and academic writing skills.
Erasmus is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all candidates, irrespective of your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political or religious views, or the like. It is not necessary to have the citizenship of an EU member state.
Knowledge of Dutch is no requirement: the dissertation will be written and supervised in English.

We expect you to:
• Start work on 1 July 2018, or 1 September 2018 at the latest.
• Complete a PhD thesis within the 4-year contract period.
• Live in Rotterdam (or close enough to Rotterdam) so that you can play an active role in the EIPE research community, by participating in the EIPE research seminars and events, and organizing research events of your own related to the project.

To develop your teaching skills, you may also volunteer to teach philosophy seminars to undergraduate students in English (but this may not take up more than 10 percent of your working time).


Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a salary of 2222 EUR gross per month in the first year. This will increase each year, up to a maximum of 2840 EUR gross per month in the final year. In addition to this, you will receive an annual holiday allowance (amounting to 8% of the annual salary) and an end of year bonus (amounting to 8.3% of the annual salary). This is a contract of employment, rather than a stipend, so you will be obliged to pay Dutch taxes, but you will also receive benefits such as an employer’s contribution to your pension.

Your research will be supervised by Dr Christopher Clarke. You will also have an opportunity to participate in the project workshops and conferences, and to use some of the project’s 1.5 million euro budget to travel to academic conferences and / or to make research visits to other institutions.

You will be based at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) at the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The academic life of EIPE is vibrant: EIPE is an internationally-renowned centre for research in the philosophy of economics and the social sciences; the EIPE research seminar regularly hosts leading scholars in philosophy, economics, and the social sciences; EIPE hosts the Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics (EJPE); and the Research Master programme in Philosophy and Economics has been designated in 2016 and 2017 as a “Top Opleiding”, meaning that it is officially one of the best Masters programmes in philosophy in the Netherlands, and amongst the top 22 of all Masters programmes in the Netherlands.
EIPE events take place in English.

Additional information

You may apply for this position until 8 February 2018 23:59 GMT. Your application should be sent by email to Dr Christopher Clarke (clarke@fwb.eur.nl). The subject line should say “Application: PhD QUALITY”. Your application should contain two files.
The first file should NOT contain your name anywhere within the contents of the file. It should consist in the following, in the following order:

•A motivation letter (one or two A4 pages). This should succinctly describe (1) what date you will have finished your masters and be ready to start the PhD fellowship (2) why you are interested in this specific fellowship, (3) how the fellowship fits into your longer term career plans (4) anything else that makes you well-suited for this fellowship. For example, you might note any knowledge, experience, or skills you possess that relates to the project or to the philosophy of the social sciences in general; or indeed any relevant essays you have written, or relevant courses you have taken, or impressive grades/marks that you have been awarded.
•A research proposal (one or two A4 pages). This should identify some specific questions that you might be interested in addressing in the PhD dissertation. It might also say what you think the most promising answers to these questions are, or what the most promising strategies or resources for addressing these questions are. Of course, this will necessarily be very provisional and speculative.
•A writing sample of approximately 5000 words (such as an essay or part of a master’s thesis). The writing sample should show your ability to structure an argument, and to engage thoughtfully with analytical or conceptual or methodological or normative issues.
The second file does contain your name. It consists in an academic CV, including:
•your contact details
•list of your academic degrees and other qualifications (such as English as a second language certificates)
•the email address and phone number of at least one academic who is willing to write you a letter of recommendation, if you are invited for interview.

For more information, you can email Christopher Clarke (clarke FOLLOWED BY @fwb.eur.nl)