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PhD Position for work on Extreme Beliefs

Published on 12/19/2019
The PhD position is embedded in both the Philosophy Department (Faculty of Humanities) and the Faculty of Religion and Theology. It is part of Dr. Rik Peels’ ERC-funded Starting Grant project ‘Extreme Beliefs: The Epistemology and Ethics of Fundamentalism’, which is devoted to a conceptual and normative assessment of fundamentalist belief. The purpose of the PhD project is to conceptualize fundamentalist belief. It will do so by addressing three sub-questions. First, what is fundamentalist belief and how does it relate to radical belief and extreme belief? Second, how does fundamentalist belief relate to other epistemically detrimental phenomena, such as a variety of intellectual vices like dogmatism and narrow-mindedness, and belief in conspiracy theories? Third, what positive and negative epistemic statuses can fundamentalist belief have, such as (ir)rationality, (lack of) justification, reason-responsiveness, or even knowledge? The hypotheses developed by way of conceptual analysis will be applied, tested, and fine-tuned in four cases studies. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the project’s principal investigator, Rik Peels, and the other PhD’s and post-docs in the project. The position includes ample funding for research and travel. A detailed project description is available here. Candidates are strongly encouraged to read the project description carefully when preparing their applications. The PhD project will start in the spring of 2020.

Your tasks
  • conduct research on the project’s topic, resulting in a PhD dissertation and in journal articles
  • participate in teaching and research activities in one or both departments, that is, the Philosophy Department of the Faculty of Humanities and/or the Faculty of Religion and Theology
  • complete the required PhD coursework for the Graduate School
  • co-organize lectures and a workshop


The candidate should have demonstrable affinity with contemporary analytic epistemology and/or the field of theology and religious studies. Preferably the candidate has a degree in one or both fields, but we will consider outstanding candidates with master degrees in other relevant fields, such as social psychology, criminology, psychiatry, cognitive science, and law. The candidate will have a strong academic record as well as interest in fundamentalism. Familiarity with debates about fundamentalism would be a plus. Excellent spoken and written English as well as strong academic writing skills are essential.

Full details on the website here.