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CFA – Funded PhD Position in the Philosophy of Responsibility, Moral Emotions, & Punishment (KU Leuven)

19 September 2021

From Benjamin De Mesel:

PhD Researcher (4 years, fully funded) in the philosophy of responsibility, the philosophy of moral emotions, and/or the philosophy of punishment

Application deadline: September 19th

Start date: January 2022 (or as soon as possible thereafter)

We are looking for a PhD candidate with an interest in the philosophy of responsibility, the philosophy of moral emotions (indignation, guilt, resentment, etc.), and/or the philosophy of punishment. The position is full-time, for four years, starting January 1st 2022 (or as soon as possible thereafter), with limited teaching duties and organisational tasks. The candidate will work with prof. Benjamin De Mesel (https://hiw.kuleuven.be/ripple/people/00085917https://philpeople.org/profiles/benjamin-de-mesel) on his project ‘Transforming Responsibility Theory’. The candidate will be a part of RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy and Ethics Leuven) and the KU Leuven Institute of Philosophy, and is expected to participate in their activities.


The aim of the project is to answer three questions in the philosophy of responsibility. (1) What is the relation between the status of being responsible and our practices of holding responsible? (2) What is the role of reactive attitudes such as indignation, guilt, and resentment in a philosophical account of responsibility? (3) How is punishment connected to the moral emotions and our practices of holding responsible?

Profile and requirements

The project is not meant to be carried out by a single person. We are looking for someone who will work on at least one of the three research questions. To be recommended:

A willingness to engage with the work of a major 20th century philosopher. Prof. De Mesel is particularly interested in so-called ‘ordinary language philosophy’. Examples of philosophers whose work the candidate might wish to study include (but are not limited to) Ludwig Wittgenstein, P.F. Strawson, G.E.M. Anscombe, J.L. Austin, G.H. von Wright, Bernard Williams, Gilbert Ryle, H.L.A. Hart.

An interest in (and some knowledge of) methodological debates. How can the methods of ordinary language philosophers, and/or recent work on genealogical methods or conceptual engineering, contribute to the contemporary study of responsibility, moral emotions and punishment?

The candidate must:

  • Have a master’s level degree in philosophy. and meet the admission requirements of the PhD program of the Institute of Philosophy (for more information, see https://admin.kuleuven.be/rd/doctoraatsreglement/en/phdregulation-ip#section-3).
  • Show potential as an academic researcher.
  • Have a broad philosophical background and be willing to study relevant work in moral philosophy, philosophy of language, action and mind, epistemology, history of philosophy, philosophy of law.
  • Be willing to contribute to debates in analytic philosophy.
  • Be motivated to work in an international academic environment.
  • Have an excellent command of the English language.
  • Be willing to carry out minor educational and organisational duties.


The application should be submitted through the portal at the KU Leuven website: https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/jobs/60054152?hl=en&lang=en​. The application should contain a brief project proposal (maximum 1000 words) that fits with (or closely relates to) the overall project description, a CV, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation. The letters should be sent directly from its author to prof. De Mesel (benjamin.demesel@kuleuven.be) no later than the application deadline. The application deadline is September 19th 2021, 23:59 (CET). Interviews with selected candidates will be held on September 27th.


For any questions concerning the application, the project or the position, do not hesitate to contact prof. Benjamin De Mesel (benjamin.demesel@kuleuven.be).




19 September 2021
Event Category:


RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy and Ethics Leuven), KU Leuven
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KU Leuven
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