Postdoc position in political argumentation

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc position in political argumentation
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The ERC-funded project ‘The Social Epistemology of Argumentation’ (SEA) has now been running for almost four years under the leadership of Prof. Catarina Dutilh Novaes. The team has been investigating the conditions under which argumentative processes lead to fruitful epistemic outcomes in terms of the circulation and co-production of knowledge, evidence, objections etc. While we adopt a social epistemological perspective, we are equally interested in the role of power dynamics and patterns of inclusion and exclusion in these processes.

For the final years of the project, we are now looking for a post-doc whose research focuses on political argumentation, for a two-year position. Some of the topics we are interested in include (but are not limited to):
– Deliberative democracy, communicative democracy, discourse ethics
– Public reason (in the Rawlsian tradition as well as critics thereof)
– Political philosophy of science, expertise in democracy, epistemology and ethics of expert–non-expert argumentation
– Ignorance studies and the philosophy of ignorance, 'hostile' epistemologies, epistemic injustice and oppression

This research position will be combined with teaching (65% research, 35% teaching). Specifically, the post-doc will teach a first-year BA course on philosophical arguments (together with Prof. Dutilh Novaes), an elective BA course on topics of their choosing at the intersection between science, politics and society, and will supervise BA theses at the PPE program. (At the VU, teaching periods run for 8 weeks only, so these are short courses.)

The position is available from September 1, 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Your duties
  • conduct research on the project’s topic, resulting in relevant publications
  • participate in the activities of the project (and related national and international events)
  • teach three courses, as described above


Candidates must:
  • possess a PhD or an approved PhD manuscript in Philosophy or an outstanding PhD thesis in a closely related field
  • have strong academic record and affinity with one or more of these three areas: argumentation studies, social epistemology, political philosophy, political theory
  • be motivated and able to work in an interdisciplinary team
  • excellent command of spoken and written English as well as strong academic writing skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 2.846 (scale 10) and a maximum € 4,474 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.8 FTE or 1.0 FTE; candidates who opt for a 0.8 FTE (80%) appointment will have a corresponding reduction in their teaching load (65% research remains fixed). The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for one more year.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 350 staff members, and we are home to around 2,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? To prepare your application, please first send an email to Prof. Dutilh Novaes ( to receive a more detailed description of the SEA project. You will then submit the following materials (all in English) via the online system:
  • a letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the SEA project
  • a brief description (circa 1.000 words) of what exactly you aim to investigate in the context of the SEA project, and how you intend to carry out the research
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a writing sample, chosen on the basis of philosophical quality and relevance to the topic of the project (max. 10.000 words)
Please apply via the application button and upload your documents until June 1, 2022.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.
  Meer informatie en solliciteren