Galen of Pergamum (129–c.213 CE) may count as the father of western medicine,
whose influence dominated medical history until well into the 19th century. But he saw
himself as a philosopher no less than a doctor, and in his voluminous writings we find
medical and philosophical perspectives combined. The NWO-funded research project
‘Human Nature: Medical and Philosophical Perspectives in the Work of Galen of
Pergamum’ explores Galen’s view of human nature from a variety of perspectives:
philosophical, physiological, anatomical, psychological, moral and religious. Apart from
studying Galen’s position and its intellectual background, the project is designed to
contribute to present-day debates on well-being and illness, concepts of humanity in
bio-ethics, the societal role of medicine and the doctor as well as multidisciplinarity and discipline-formation.
As a postdoc you will carry out the subproject "The Unity of Galen’s Physiology,"
focusing on the question how far Platonic tripartite psychology, Hellenistic anatomical
work concerned with the nervous system and pneumatology have been integrated by
Galen into a coherent theory. You will work under the supervision of the project leader
Prof Dr Teun Tieleman and complete a monograph within three years. In addition, you
will play your part as member of the core research team, which apart from Prof
Tieleman will consist of two post-doctoral researchers and a PhD student. As such, you
will participate in and contribute to workshops and other activities related to the project.
You will be based at the Utrecht University's Department of Philosophy and Religious
Studies, section History of Philosophy, which provides a relevant, stimulating and
internationally oriented research environment.
A PhD in Classics or (Ancient) Philosophy or History of (Ancient) Medicine; or a
PhD dissertation in one of these fields already accepted by the PhD committee;
Excellent track record and research skills relative to experience;
The ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
A pro-active attitude and excellent communication and collaborative skills;
Interest in interdisciplinary work and societal challenges is considered an
You will be offered a full-time Postdoc position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of 12
months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 24 months
(three years in total). The starting salary - depending on experience and qualifications -
ranges between €3,193 and €3,427 (scale 10 Collective Labour Agreement Dutch
Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment.
Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an endof-
year bonus of 8.3% and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the
Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. More information: working
at Utrecht University.
About the organization:
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in their leading
research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate
intensively on major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for
Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It
comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art
History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With
its research and teaching in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better
understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural
context. Enthusiastic and committed faculty members and excellent amenities in the
historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring
For further information about the vacancy, please contact Prof Dr. Teun Tieleman,
project leader: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the project: Human Nature: Medical and Philosophical
perspectives in the work of Galen of Pergamum (pdf).