Monday, 17 December 2012

Two ERC-funded PhD studentships in Philosophy (Leeds)

The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at Leeds is offering two studentships for students commencing a full-time PhD in Philosophy in October 2013. The students will form part of the ERC-funded research project The nature of representation.

Your PhD project will be in the areas of Language or Mind, broadly construed. A variety of projects in these areas may be suitable for funding in connection with this project. Please feel free to contact the project director, Prof. Robert Williams, for more information on this opportunity (email: 

You should be willing to participate in project activities, including regular meetings and workshops with project members. You will also be expected to assist other members of the project team who will be organizing these events.

Project details

Mental representation – perception and cognition – unites humans and other animals. Linguistic representation differentiates humans from other animals. But representation in either form is a phenomenon that cries out for explanation. How does one thing-a volley of sensation, a pattern of neurons firing in the head, or a sequence of sounds or written marks-"stand for" or "represent" another? However we answer this question, what are the means by which we find out about it? And for what purposes do we need to appeal to representation in the first place?

The Nature of Representation is a five-year project, funded by the European Research Council, on the metaphysics and epistemology of representation. The project is located at the University of Leeds under the direction of Robert Williams (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science). The project team will include two postdoctoral researchers (2013-17) and two PhD studentships (2013-16). Regular workshops will be held on project themes.

Major project themes include:

The explanatory role of representation. For what explanatory purposes do we need to appeal to (mental or linguistic) representation? 

Grounding representation. Can we say in nonrepresentational terms what the world must be like, in order for there to be representation? 

Representational media. How are the vehicles of representation (e.g. words, sentences) to be individuated? Does mental content have such vehicles?   

Knowing what's represented. How do we find out about what represents what?

Studentship information

The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years (full-time). Renewal of the studentship each year is subject to satisfactory academic progress. Applicants should normally have, or expect soon to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. International students are eligible to apply for this studentship.  The studentships will comprise of a maintenance allowance of £18,189 p.a. In addition to these amounts, the project funding allows significant further funding for approved research and travel expenses. Please note that you will be liable to pay academic fees for the duration of your course (in session 2012/13 the rate for UK/EU students was £3,828 p.a. and the rate for international students in session 2013/14 will be £13,100).

The closing date for applications is 1st  March 2013. You should also arrange for three academic references to be sent to us by this date.

Applications for the studentships should be made in accordance with the standard procedure for applying to do a postgraduate research degree in Philosophy at Leeds. See here for complete instructions and requirements.

Please specify in your application that you wish to be considered for the award. 

Correspondence regarding the application procedure may be directed to

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