Postdoctoral Fellow, Philosophy of Contemporary and Future Science Project, Department of Philosophy

Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
17 May 2022
End of advertisement period
27 May 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Lingnan University, a distinctive liberal arts institution in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is committed to the provision of quality whole-person education by combining the best of Chinese and Western liberal arts traditions. It strives to pursue excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship and community engagement. With three academic Faculties, it offers a wide range of undergraduate degree programmes in arts, business and social sciences. Lingnan’s liberal arts education is characterised by a broad-based interdisciplinary curriculum with specialised disciplinary studies; close student-staff relationship; a vibrant residential campus; ample global learning opportunities; active community engagement and multifarious workplace experience. The School of Graduate Studies also offers postgraduate programmes up to doctoral level in various disciplines and provides professional education for the wider society.

Applications are now invited for the following post:

Postdoctoral Fellow (2 vacancies), Philosophy of Contemporary and Future Science Project, Department of Philosophy

(Post Ref.: 21/254)

About the Department

The Department of Philosophy at Lingnan University is one of the best in Asia. Faculty members publish in leading journals in the field, such as Analysis, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Journal of Philosophical Logic, Mind, Noûs, Philosophers’ Imprint, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Philosophy of Science. The department has a thriving PhD programme and also hosts several Postdoctoral Fellows/Research Assistant Professors.

More information on the research interests and publications of philosophers at Lingnan University can be found at:


Areas of Specialization:

Philosophy of Science; or Epistemology; or Philosophy of Biology or Chemistry or Physics

These posts arise in connection with a Senior Research Fellowship awarded to Professor Darrell Rowbottom, which will run from 2022–2027. The abstract for this project follows:

Philosophy of Contemporary and Future Science

"Science has changed considerably in recent decades and continues to change at a remarkable rate. Many of the changes concern how science is done. Computer simulations are used to make predictions and to propose explanations. Gigantic databases of information – collections of ‘big data’ – are analyzed for patterns, to generate and test hypotheses. New areas of interdisciplinary science are forming, which involve attempts to integrate approaches from the older natural scientific disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology. And artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to perform tasks that humans simply cannot. On the horizon are AI scientists.

This project will involve philosophers and scientists working together. It will examine some of the difficulties created by these new approaches and emerging developments, and tackle some of the interesting questions that they raise about the future of science. Some of the results will be of practical significance for science, e.g. concern how problems in collaborations involving different areas of science may be addressed, and other results will be of intellectual significance, e.g. in understanding the limits of current and future science.

Some of the specific questions this project will address are as follows. To what extent can experiments done on computers – computer simulations – stand in for experiments done ‘for real’, in the laboratory or the field? How can conflicts about what counts as a good method of inquiry, between scientists working in different areas, be resolved effectively? How does the changing social structure of science bear on what we should expect future science to produce? What are the advantages and disadvantages of having AI perform specific functions in future science? How might AI best be deployed?"

The project will involve a team of ten collaborators from the natural sciences and philosophy, based in Hong Kong and Europe.

Professor Rowbottom is now seeking Two Postdoctoral Fellows to work on the project over the course of three years. They will later be joined by at least one other postdoc and a funded PhD student.

The fellows will be based in Hong Kong but spend several months in the UK on placements with scientists and philosophers working in cognate areas.

The ideal candidate would have expertise in philosophy of science or epistemology and have some background in biology, chemistry, or physics. Experience of working with scientists in the past or knowledge of interdisciplinary areas of science would be advantageous.

Applicants should have a PhD degree in Philosophy by the start of the appointment. The starting date of the position is open to negotiation but should be in 2022.

Applicants are expected to have publications in leading journals or evidence of the ability to publish in such journals (e.g., in the form of writing samples).

The appointee will work as part of the research team headed by Professor Rowbottom.

This will involve:

  1. carrying out directed research (including research in collaboration with scientists during placements and other team members);
  2. authorship and co-authorship of papers suitable for publication in leading journals;
  3. authorship and submission of derivative grant proposals to funding bodies;
  4. organizing seminars, reading groups, workshops and other related research activities;
  5. teaching occasional courses at undergraduate and / or postgraduate levels;
  6. performing occasional outreach activities (such as lectures aimed at the general public); and
  7. managing/updating the project website.

The teaching load will be one or two courses per year, distributed according to the departmental needs and upon mutual agreement. English will be the language of instruction.


The salary for the posts will be approximately $40,000 HKD per month. Fringe benefits include annual leave, medical and dental benefits, mandatory provident fund, gratuity and incoming passage and baggage allowance (where appropriate). Appointments will normally be made on contract basis for three years. Suitably qualified applicants may be offered appointment with the functional title and role of ‘Research Assistant Professor’.

Application Procedure (online application only)

Please click "Apply Now" to submit your application. Applicants should include a letter of interest, a CV and one writing sample in the application. Applicants should also provide names and contact information of two referees to whom applicants’ consent has been given for their providing references. Personal data collected will be used for recruitment purposes only.

Informal inquiries concerning the post can be directed to Professor Darrell Rowbottom, at

We are an equal opportunities employer. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the post is filled. Qualified candidates are advised to submit their applications early for consideration.

The University reserves the right not to make an appointment for the post advertised, or to fill the post by invitation or by search. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

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