Research Associate in Philosophy

Bristol, United Kingdom
£33,199 - £37,345 Per annum
03 Oct 2018
End of advertisement period
01 Nov 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Division/School School of Arts
Contract type Fixed Term Contract
Working pattern Full time
Salary £33,199 - £37,345 Per annum
Closing date for applications 01-Nov-2018

Location: Bristol, UK

Starting date: January 2019 (or as soon as possible thereafter) until December 2022

The Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy will work with the Principal Investigator (PI) Tuomas Tahko on the European Research Council project ‘The Metaphysical Unity of Science’, running from September 2018 until August 2023.

As Research Associate you will be expected to have a background in a field of philosophy relevant to the project to work with the PI and the project team on the above questions. Relevant areas of experience include some combination of metaphysics, general philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of chemistry, and philosophy of physics. The main tasks are to produce peer-reviewed scientific articles and other project outputs, participate in reading groups and other meetings, and help organising the project’s events.
The Metaphysical Unity of Science (MetaScience) ERC Consolidator Grant project pursues the question of what, if anything, unifies the natural sciences. The project studies the question from the perspective of metaphysics and philosophy of science—metaphysics of science—by way of employing case studies from biology, chemistry, and physics.
What does it mean for one scientific phenomenon to be explained in terms of another? Under what conditions does scientific unification take place? In philosophy, these questions are often discussed under the rubric of reduction. Typically, in asking whether one phenomenon reduces to another, we aim to understand what the ultimate or fundamental basis of the first phenomenon is. In the mid to late 20th century, there was a hope to reduce all higher level phenomena to fundamental physics. Yet, it was soon discovered that there are phenomena that cannot be easily reduced, so unification may not be available via this route.

The project’s ambitious goal is to produce a novel account of unification.

This is made possible by recent breakthroughs in the methodology of metaphysics, an area sometimes called “metametaphysics”. The project’s objectives are (1) to establish the criteria for scientific unification; (2) to conduct case studies of actual scientific reductions at the biology-chemistry and the chemistry-physics interfaces; (3) to study the role of dependence relations weaker than reduction.

The project team consists of the PI, three Postdocs, a PhD student, and a Project Administrator.

For informal enquiries about the position, please contact Dr Tuomas Tahko (

Closing date for applications is midnight Thursday 1 November 2018

We appreciate and value difference, seeking to attract, develop and retain a diverse mix of talented people that will contribute to the overall success of Bristol and help maintain our position as one of the world’s leading universities.