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Research Fellowship: Philosophical Aspects of Sensory Engineering (DFG/AHRC-Project SENSOR & PAIR Fellowship)

Centre for Philosophy of AI Research, Friedrich-Alexander-University

Job category Postdoc or similar / Fixed term
AOS Philosophy of Perception, Philosophy of Psychedelics, Philosophy of AI, Epistemic Risks
AOS categories Epistemology
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
AOC Open
Workload Full time
Vacancies 1
Organization's reference number SENSOR
Location Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany
Start date 01. August 2024
Job description

– Project SENSOR
A range of new interventions targetting our sensory experiences will soon become commonplace in our society: Virtual and augmented reality, scientific sensory tools, sensory prosthetics, stroboscopic stimulation, psychedelic substances, and so on. In this project, we will study these interventions to develop a better philosophical understanding of the sensory experiences these new interventions provide, but also of ordinary sensory experiences. We aim to fully understand the wide range of perceptual and epistemic benefits that these technologies may offer and the related dangers that they may pose. Project SENSOR will achieve this goal by examining three foundational issues in the philosophy of perception of sensory engineering: the nature of (1) illusion and hallucination, (2) direct and indirect perception, and (3) perceptual knowledge and epistemic risks in cases of sensory engineering. 

The SENSOR consortium has been funded by a joint DFG/AHRC-grant and brings together a team from the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience, University of Glasgow (Derek Brown, Jack Lyons, Fiona Macpherson) with researchers from the Centre for Philosophy and AI Research, FAU Erlangen (Sascha Benjamin Fink + this advertised position). Several joint meetings and coordinated events of these groups are planned.

– Research Environment 
The Centre for Philosophy and AI Research (PAIR) was founded in 2022 with support from a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Vincent C. Müller at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU, est. 1743). In addition to the AvH Foundation, PAIR is funded by the University, and 3rd party research funding. Our vision is to help set the agenda in the philosophy and ethics of AI, through publications, events, structures, and visible activities. This research will generate intellectual progress that can have a deep impact towards a better society. Our work involves excellent people with a background in philosophy, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, social sciences and computer sciences. We offer an international, stimulating, supportive and pleasant research environment – situated in a lively and modern workplace in the centre of beautiful Erlangen. The working language at PAIR is English.

PAIR currently has 13 members: The director (Vincent C. Müller), a director of research (Sascha Benjamin Fink), 4 post-doc research fellows, 4 PhD students, 2 post-docs associated with funded projects (BMBF-PsychedELSI and DFG-PhiMiSci), 1 admin, visiting fellows, and affiliated FAU faculty. 

For more information, visit https://www.pair.fau.eu

Beyond PAIR, the postdoc will cooperate with the SENSOR group in Glasgow during regular meetings.

– Tasks
The major focus of this position (75%) will be research on the topics of project SENSOR (see link below). What matters to us is your contribution to intellectual progress in SENSOR-related research, plus contributions to the team overall. Academic excellence is assumed, as are teamwork, an international outlook, and fluent English. 

A minor part (25%) will be helping Sascha Benjamin Fink with managerial tasks, e.g. organising project SENSOR, coordinating with the Glasgow team and DFG, organising workshops and conferences, and supporting Fink's work at PAIR. As most administration works in German, proficiency in German is considered a plus, but is not mandatory.

There are no teaching duties associated with this position. The post-doc is expected to be mostly working on-site at PAIR in Erlangen.

– Benefits 
Salary at level TV-L E13, full-time (currently ca. €50-73000/year, before tax, depending on experience). The employment includes social security benefits, health insurance (1/2 employer, 1/2 employee), pension, sick pay, etc. There is funding for travel to conferences and for the organisation of events.

Starting date: 01.08.2024 (negotiable)

The appointment is initially for 33 months. Employment beyond that will depend on the funding situation by then. Part-time employment is a possibility if needed to allow family-care. 

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. In its pursuit of academic excellence, FAU is committed to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture and values diversity. FAU is a family-friendly employer.

– Requirements
PhD in a relevant field, ideally by the time of appointment. A track record of work in the philosophy of perception, philosophy of psychedelics, epistemic risks or philosophy of AI is desirable.

We do not require that applicants already have a visa & work permit for the EU/Germany.

– Procedure
Applications via e-mail to [email protected], with subject line "SENSOR", with a single PDF that includes:
• A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) 

• CV (with publications, if applicable)

• Writing sample of what the candidate considers their best work

• Contact information for 2 references

Informal but targeted inquiries about this post to Sascha Benjamin Fink: [email protected]

How to apply
Application type Email
Applications via e-mail to [email protected], with the subject line "SENSOR", with a single PDF that includes: • A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) • CV (with publications, if applicable) • Writing sample of what the candidate considers their best work • Contact information for 2 references
Web address to apply http://pair.fau.de
Email to apply
Hard deadline April 30, 2024, 11:59pm CET
Web address for more information https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/latestnew...
Contact name Sascha Benjamin Fink
Contact email
Time created March 26, 2024, 8:14pm UTC
Scheduled expiry date April 30, 2024, 11:59pm CET
Last updated March 27, 2024, 3:55pm UTC
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Hiring in a German-Scottish project. The hiring date is dependent on the project schedule.